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The teeming earth, and that forget to bear; Sooner that rivers would run back, or Thames
With ribs of ice in June would bind his streams;
Or Nature, by whose strength the world endures,
Would change her course before you alter yours.
But O, that treacherous breast! to whom weak you
Did trust our counsels, and we both may
Having his falsehood found too late! 'twas
That made me cast you guilty, and you me; Whilst he, black wretch, betrayed each simple word
We spake, unto the sunning of a third ! Curst may he be that so our love hath slain,
And wander wretched on the earth as
Wretched as he, and not deserve least pity!
Till he be noisome as his infamy;
Swine eat his bowels, and his falser tongue,
Of my life's lease; like painters that do take
Delight, not in made works, but whilst they make.
I could renew those times when first I saw Love in your eyes, that gave my tongue the law
To like what you liked, and at masques or plays
Commend the self-same actors the same ways;
1 Is fixed upon one leg, &c.] Jonson, like Donne, seems fond of drawing illustrations from this familiar implement. In his verses to Selden, p. 301 a, he has done it very gracefully: "You that have been
That love's a bitter sweet I ne'er conceive,
Under another name, I take your health,
And free society, he's born elsewhere,
No, mistress, no, the open, merry man Moves like a sprightly river, and yet can Keep secret in his channels what he breeds, 'Bove all your standing waters choked with weeds.
They look at best like cream-bowls, and you soon
Shall find their depth; they are sounded with a spoon.
They may say grace, and for Love's chap
But the grave lover ever was an ass;
Ever at home, yet have all countries seen;
Donne is yet more fanciful and ingenious He
Like the dull wearied crane that, come on
Doth while he keeps his watch, betray his stand;
Where he that knows will like a lapwing fly
And never be by time or folly brought,
Since you must go, and I must bid farewell,
To shift their seasons and destroy their powers!
Alas! I have lost my heat, my blood, my prime,
Winter is come a quarter ere his time. My health will leave me: and when you depart,
How shall I do, sweet mistress, for my heart?
You would restore it! no; that's worth a fear,
As if it were not worthy to be there :
says to a wife who remains at home while her husband is abroad;
"Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
Let me be what I am: as Virgil cold,
His lines, and hourly sits the poet's horse?
Fathers and husbands, I do claim a right
But is the poet's matter; and he must,
If they be fair and worth it, have their lives Made longer by our praises; or, if not, Wish you had foul ones and deformed got, Curst in their cradles, or there changed by elves,
So to be sure you do enjoy, yourselves. Yet keep those up in sackcloth too, or leather,
For silk will draw some sneaking songster thither.
It is a rhyming age, and verses swarm
But I who live, and have lived twenty year,
Where I may handle silk as free, and near,
Have eaten with the beauties, and the wits,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect as that comes home."
1 Whose like I have known the tailor's wife put on, &c.] Whether this be the original sketch of the Countess Pinnacia Stuffe in the New Inn, or be itself taken from that unfor
To do her husband's rites in, ere 'twere gone
Home to the customer: his letchery
Of race accounted, that no passion have, But when thy wife, as thou conceiv'st, is brave?
Then ope thy wardrobe, think me that poor groom
That, from the footman, when he was be
An officer there, did make most solemn love To every petticoat he brushed, and glove He did lay up; and would adore the shoe Or slipper was left off, and kiss it too; Court every hanging gown, and after that Lift up some one, and do-I tell not what. Thou didst tell me, and wert o'erjoyed to peep
In at a hole, and see these actions creep From the poor wretch, which though he played in prose,
He would have done in verse, with any of those
Wrung on the withers by Lord Love's despite,
Had he the faculty to read and write ! Such songsters there are store of; witness
That chanced the lace laid on a smock to
And straightway spent a sonnet; with that other
That, in pure madrigal, unto his mother Commended the French hood and scarlet >2 gown
tunate play, as the lines are not dated, cannot be told; the resemblance, however, is perfect: "Master Stuffe,
When he makes any fine garment that will suit me,
Unto the Spittle sermon.] The Spittle sermons were preached at that time, in a pulpit erected for the purpose, in what is now called Spittle Square. They lasted through the Easter week.
2 In smiling l'envoy.] i. e., in a kind of supercilious close. For l'envoy, see vol. i.
The lady may'ress passed in through the town,
Unto the Spittle sermon.1 O what strange
Another answers, 'las! those silks are none,
Thou art jealous of thy wife's or daughter's
More than of either's manners, wit, or face!
AN EXECRATION UPON VULCAN. And why to me this? thou lame Lord of
What had I done that might call on thine ire?
Or urge thy greedy flame thus to devour
Or in remembrance of thy affront and scorn, With clowns and tradesmen kept thee closed in horn.4
'Twas Jupiter that hurled thee headlong down,
And Mars that gave thee a lanthorn for a
date affixed to it: it was printed in 4to, and 12m0, 1640, and again in the folio of that year; the present text has been formed from a careful collation of all the copies.
There is a degree of wit and vivacity in these verses which does no little credit to the equanimity of the poet, who speaks of a loss so irreparable to him, not only with forbearance, but with pleasantry and good humour. The lame lord is from Catullus:
Scripta tardipedi deo daturum
4 With clowns and tradesmen kept thee' closed in horn.] This is a joke of very ancient standing: Heus tu, qui Vulcanum conclusum in cornu geris! Plaut. Amphytr.-WHAL
Was it because thou wert of old denied,
To ruin every issue of the brain?
Or, if thou needs wouldst trench upon her
Thou might'st have yet enjoyed thy cruelty
Had I wrote treason there, or heresy, Imposture, witchcraft, charms, or blas-To phemy;
I had deserved then thy consuming looks,
If none of these, then why this fire? Or find
Had I compiled from Amadis de Gaul, The Esplandians, Arthurs, Palmerins, and all
The learned library of Don Quixote,
And so some goodlier monster had begot;
Of eggs and halberds, cradles, and a herse,
On such my serious follies: but thou'lt say
She is the judge, thou executioner :
Acrostichs, and telestichs, &c.] All these fooleries in verse were practised ages ago, by writers who atoned for want of genius by the labour of their compositions. This is Whalley's remark, and it was undoubtedly so; but the folly was again become epidemic, in quence of the publication of Puttenham's Arte of English Poetrie, in which "these prettie conceits, eggs, altars, wings, lozenges, rondels, and piramids" are recommended to the poet's imitation. At the beginning (he says) they will seeme nothing pleasant to the English eare; but time and usage will make them acceptable inough." [The word jump is here used as in Hamlet, "jump at this dead hour."-F. C.]
The MS. of this piece in the British Museum reads, with more variety,
light tobacco, or save roasted geese, Singe capons, or crisp pigs, dropping their
Condemned me to the ovens with the pies ;?
Had I foreknown of this thy least desire
The Talmud and the Alcoran had come,
The charmed boats, and the inchanted
The Tristrams, Lancelots, Turpins, and the
All the mad Rolands and sweet Olivers ;
Invisibility, and strength, and tongues;
With Nicolas' Pasquils, Meddle with your
And the strong lines that do the times so catch;
"Clothe spices, or guard sweetmeats from the flies."
[The condemnation to the "ovens with the pies," seems prophetic of the doings of Mr. Warburton and his cook.-F. C.]
3 With pieces of the Legend.] The Lives of the Saints: these are well coupled with the Jewish and Mahomedan dreams.
The art of kindling the true coal by Lungs, &c.] Lungs (see vol. ii. p. 19 a) were the unhappy drudges kept by the alchemists to blow their true (i. e., their beechen) coal: for bellows were not used by them.
Nicolas is probably Nic Breton, a voluminous publisher, who has many little pieces under the name of Pasquil: such as Pasquil's Passion,
Or Captain Pamphlet's horse and foot, that sally
Upon the Exchange still, out of Pope'shead alley;
The weekly Courants, with Pauls seal ;' and all
The admired discourses of the prophet Ball. These, hadst thou pleased either to dine or sup,
Had made a meal for Vulcan to lick up." But in my desk what was there to accite So ravenous and vast an appetite?
I dare not say a body, but some parts There were of search, and mastery in the arts.
All the old Venusine, in poetry,
And lighted by the Stagerite, could spy, Was there made English; with a grammar too,
To teach some that their nurses could not do,3
The purity of Language; and, among The rest, my journey into Scotland sung, With all the adventures: three books, not
To speak the fate of the Sicilian maid,
How in these ruins, Vulcan, thou dost
All soot and embers! odious as thy work!
I now begin to doubt if ever Grace, Or goddess, could be patient of thy face. Thou woo Minerva ! or to wit aspire ! 'Cause thou canst halt with us in arts and fire !
Son of the Wind! for so thy mother, gone With lust, conceived thee; father thou hadst none.
When thou wert born, and that thou look'dst at best,
She durst not kiss, but flung thee from her breast;
And so did Jove, who ne'er meant thee his cup.
No mar'le the clowns of Lemnos took thee
For none but smiths would have made thee a god.
Some alchemist there may be yet, or odd
May to thy name a VULCANALE say;
Well fare the wise men yet, on the Bankside,
My friends the watermen! they could pro vide
Against thy fury, when to serve their needs, They made a Vulcan of a sheaf of reeds, Whom they durst handle in their holiday coats,
And safely trust to dress, not burn their boats.
But O those reeds! thy mere disdain of them
Made thee beget that cruel stratagem,
likewise to be met with in the Discoveries: the Grammar is also preserved, and printed.WHAL.
Pasquil's Mad-cap, &c. In the pointing this line, the MS. in the British Museum has been followed. The strong lines, &c., are the political satires which were now dispersed in great numbers, and caught the times but too suc-struction of the Art of Poetry, illustrated, as it Literature sustained no little loss by the decessfully.
The weekly courants, with Pauls seal, &c.] A sarcastical allusion to the stories fabricated by the idle walkers in St. Paul's, and weekly detailed by Butter and others as authentic intelligence. For the prophet Ball, see vol. ii.
P. 307 a.
A meal for Vulcan to lick up.] Thus Pope:
"From shelf to shelf see greedy Vulcan roll, And lick up all the physic of the soul." All the old Venusine, &c.] He alludes to his translation of Horace's Art of Poetry, illustrated with notes from Aristotle's Poetics. The translation is preserved: and much of what seemed to have been intended for the notes is VOL. III.
appears to have been, by a perpetual commenveries were appended as notes to the translation, tary from Aristotle. If any part of the Discoit could not be very considerable. have now forms, 1 believe, but a small part of the original matter; consisting of occasional recollections only, set down as they occurred, and several of them evidently of a late date. The translation itself, perhaps, is not what it was at first; for the two copies of it which have reached us, and which may be only transcripts of tran scripts, differ from each other in numberless instances. Whalley is evidently wrong also in what he says of the Grammar. The perfect copy was destroyed; and all that is come down to us are mere fragments; parts, indeed, of the original materials, but dislocated and imperfect.