Lapas attēli

That Sharpham, Day, Dicker, were all rogues; and that Minshew was one.1

That Abram Francis, in his English Hexameters, was a foole.2

That next himself, only Fletcher and Chapman could make a Mask.3



"That he thought not Bartas a Poet, but a Verser, because he wrote not fiction.4

He cursed Petrarch for redacting verses to Sonnets; which he said were like that

Cirrant's bed, wher some who where too short were racked, others too long cut short.

That Guarini, in his Pastor Fido, keept not decorum, in making Shepherds speek as well as himself could.5

That Lucan, taken in parts, was good divided; read altogidder, merited not the name of a Poet.

That Bonefonius Vigilium Veneris was excellent."

1Edward Sharpham was the author of The Fleire, 1607, and Cupid's Whirligig, 1607; which last is remarkable as containing a passage of easy cantering prose anticipating the idea about the 'prentice hand," so exquisitely employed by Robert Burns in one of his most famous songs. He was a member of the Middle Temple.

John Day had been a student of Caius College, Cambridge. Mr. W. C. Hazlitt gives the titles of seven plays, the first of which was published in 1606. The Bristol Tragedy, not included in the above, was acted by the Lord Admiral's servants in 1602. There is a contemporary epigram given in the Biographia Dramatica which bears out Jonson's character of him. He afterwards (P. 478) calls him a base fellow."

Thomas Dekker was a man of very considerable ability, and a ready and popular writer. When at his best, there is a dance in his words that even now carries a reader along with him. Jonson makes game of him very happily in The Poetaster, and Dekker hits him hard in return in his Satiro-Mastix.

John Minsheu, or Joannes Minshaus, as he preferred to call himself, is now only remembered as the compiler of the Ductor in Linguas, or Guide into the Tongues, with their agreement and consent one with another, as also their Etymologies, that is, the Reasons and Derivations of all or the most part of words, in these nine languages, viz.


1. English.
2. Low Dutch.
3. High Dutch.
4. French.


6. Spanish.

5. Italian. 7. Latine.

8. Greeke.
9. Hebrew, &c.

Which are so laid together (for the helpe of memorie) that any one with ease and facilitie, may not only remember foure, five, or more of these Languages so laid together, but also, by their Etymologies under the name, know the Nature, Propertie, Condition, Effect, Matter, Forme, Fashion, or end of things thereunder contained." The compiler may have been a rogue," but he has certainly not scamped his work. This old work is perfectly invaluable to any student of Elizabethan literature.

Abraham Fraunce was a protégé of Sir Philip Sidney's. He was the author of the "Countess of Pembroke's Joychurch, 1591, 92," and of "The Countess of Pembroke's Enianuel, 1591." Both were written in "English Hexameters." Peele (1593) speaks of him as

"Our English Fraunce,

A peerless sweet translator of our time."

Mr. Dyce quotes a couple of his Hexameters

"Now had fiery Phlegon his dayes revolution ended,

And his snoring snowt with salt waves all to bewashed."

See Dyce's account of R. Greene and his Writings, p. 27.

Jonson has here omitted the name of Francis Beaumont, who, aided only by Sir Francis Bacon, had composed the "Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn," in the year 1613. But Beaumont had died in 1616, and Jonson probably was speaking of living authors only.

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Hallam characterizes the best known poem of Du Bartas (La Semaine) as a mass of bad taste and bad writing."

B Jonson had previously found the same fault with The Arcadia. He was careful to avoid it in his own beautiful fragment of The Sad Shepherd.

For a notice of Jean Bonnefons (Bonnefonius), see vol. i. p. 406 8. Hallam speaks of him with contempt, and in particular says that his "Latinity is full of gross and obvious errors;" adding, however, that "he has been thought worthy of several editions, and has met with more favourable judges than myself."

That he told Cardinal de Perron, at his being in France, anno 1613, who shew him his translations of Virgill, that they were naught.'

That the best pieces of Ronsard were his Odes.2

All this was to no purpose, for he [Jonson] neither doeth understand French nor Italiannes.3


He read his translation of that Ode of Horace, Beatus ille qui procul negotiis, &c., and admired it. Of ane Epigrame of Petronius, Fada et brevis est Veneris voluptas; concluding it was better to lie still and kisse..

To me he read the preface of his Arte of Poesie, upon Horace ['s] Arte of Poesie, wher he heth ane Apologie of a play of his, St. Bartholomee's Faire: by Criticus is understood Done. Ther is ane Epigrame of Sir Edward Herbert's befor it: the [this] he said he had done in my Lord Aubanie's house ten yeers since, anno 1604.5

The most common place of his repetition was a Dialogue pastoral between a Shepherd and a Shepherdesse about singing. Another, Parabostes Pariane with his letter; that Epigrame of Gout 8 my Lady Bedfoord's bucke;9 his verses of drinking, Drinke to me bot with thyne eyes 10 Swell me a Bowle, &c." His verses of a Kisse, 1

"Bot kisse me once and faith I will be gone;
And I will touch as harmelesse as the bee
That doeth but taste the flower and flee away."


That is, but half a one :





"What sould be done but once, should be done long."

He read a satyre of a Lady come from the Bath;13 Verses on the Pucelle of the Court, Mistriss Boulstred, whose Epitaph Done made ;14 a Satyre, telling there was no abuses

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'Cardinal de Perron, says Hallam, was a man of great natural capacity, a prodigious memory, a vast knowledge of ecclesiastical and profane antiquity, a sharp wit, a pure and eloquent style, and such readiness in dispute that few cared to engage him." As the conversation no doubt took place in Latin, the Cardinal, acute and learned as he was, would find his match in Jonson, who, when he told him that his translations were "naught," only meant that according to his own unrelaxing idea of what a "version" ought to be, paraphrases, however elegant, were worthless and misleading.

2 Hallam entirely agrees with this dictum of Jonson, for while condemning his other works as at once ridiculously pedantic and barbarous, he adds that his Odes "have a spirit and grandeur which show him to have possessed a poetical mind."

See Gifford's note, vol. i. p. xliv. b. I think it far more likely that Jonson conversed with the Cardinal in Latin than in French. Samuel Johnson, a century and a half later, had an excellent book knowledge of French, but when he visited Paris, Boswell tells us he "was generally very resolute in speaking Latin." And Bishop Hall, the great poet, born within a twelvemonth of Jonson, expressly tells us that he conversed in Latin when he was abroad.

For these two translations, see ante, pp. 384, 387.

5 See Gifford's introduction to the Art of Poetry, ante, p. 367. A difficulty has been started about these dates, but, to my thinking, quite unnecessarily. The specification of "ten years since" does not refer to the date of the conversation, but to the date of the preface, which must have been written in 1614, when Bartholomew Fair was produced. For Sir Edward Herbert's "Epigram," see vol. i. p. cix. a.

This must have been "The Musical Strife, a Pastorall Dialogue." See ante, p. 284. 7" Parabostes Pariane."

8"That Epigrame of Gout" is no doubt the Epigram No. cxviii., On Gut. See ante, p. 253 6. Epigram No. lxxxiv., To Lucy, Countess of Bedford. See ante, p. 241 b.

10 "The Forest," No. ix., To Celia. See ante, p. 268 a.

11 See The Poetaster, act iii. sc. 1. Vol. i. p. 223 a.

13 See "Underwoods," No. vii., ante, p. 282 b. The last line has hitherto been printed as prose. 18 Mr. Laing had not traced these lines.

14 "Underwoods," No. lxviii., ante, p. 328 b. There is bitter personality about these lines, and the hatred would not be lessened when, as we learn (post, p. 493), they were stolen from Jonson's pocket and taken to the lady. Donne wrote two Elegies upon her, the latter of which is singularly beautiful, and was evidently written before that which precedes it. (See his Works, 1669, pp. 253, 258.) It seems incredible that Donne's verses and Jonson's should be about the same person. See Notes and Queries, 3rd Series, vol. iv. p. 198, for yet another Elegy; but this, although bearing Jonson's initials, cannot possibly have come from the same pen that wrote the former attack.

to writte a satyre of, and [in] which he repeateth all the abuses in England and the World. He insisted in that of Martiall's Vitam quæ faciunt beatiorem.1



That they were all good, especiallie my Epitaphe of the Prince, save that they smelled too much of the Schooles, and were not after the fancie of the tyme: for a child (sayes he) may writte after the fashion of the Greeks and Latine verses in running; yett that he wished, to please the King, that piece of Forth Feasting had been his owne.


He esteemeth John Done the first poet in the world in some things :3 his verses of the Lost Chaine he heth by heart; and that passage of the Calme, That dust and feathers doe not stirr, all was so quiet. Affirmeth Done to have written all his best pieces ere 'he was 25 years old.

Sir Edward [Henry] Wotton's verses of a happie lyfe," he hath by heart; and a

For Jonson's translation of this Epigram, see p. 388 of this volume. It was recovered by Mr. Collier.

It cannot be too often repeated that Censure in Jonson's time meant nothing more than Opinion or Judgment does now. The Epitaphe of the Prince" must be the Tears on the death of Mæliades," the anagram of Miles a Deo. It was published in 1613, immediately after the death of Prince Henry, and the "Forth Feasting" in 1617, on the occasion of James paying, "with salmon-like instinct," a visit to Scotland. There is a modest honesty about this entry of Drummond's, sufficient of itself to establish his character.

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8 Any reader who struggles manfully to understand Donne, will certainly endorse Jonson's "9 censure. When he says afterwards (p. 477) that "Donne from not being understood would perish," he shows that the difficulty of reading him was hardly less in his own time than in ours. Coleridge has, both in rhyme and prose, described his style

"With Donne, whose Muse on dromedary trots

Wreathe iron pokers into true-love-knots;
Rhyme's sturdy cripple, Fancy's maze and clue,

Wit's forge and fire-blast, Meaning's press and screw!"

"Wonder-exciting vigour, intenseness and peculiarity of thought, using at will the almost boundless stores of a capacious memory, and exercised on subjects where we have no right to expect it-this is the wit of Donne."

"The Lost Chaine" is Elegie xii. at p. 81 of the 1669 edition of his works. Some vigorous and humorous objurgation at the end of this piece is much in Jonson's own style. "The Calm" is at p. 147. Any person who has been becalmed in the Tropics, or voyaged in an iron boat in the Red Sea in the month of September, will acknowledge the extraordinary force and truth of Donne's picture

"In one place lay

Feathers and dust to-day and yesterday.




Who live that miracle do multiply
Where walkers in hot ovens do not die.
If in despite of these we swim, that hath
No more refreshing than a brimstone bath;
But from the sea unto the ship we turn

Like parboiled wretches on the coals to burn."

The "Elegie on the Untimely Death of the incomparable Prince Henry" mentioned a few lines below, was first published in 1613. Sir Edward Herbert is better known as Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It would require a subtle critic to distinguish between Donne's natural and simulated "obscurenesse." Izaac Walton goes further than Jonson, and says that most of Donne's pieces were written before he was twenty.

5 Mr. Collier discovered these verses in the handwriting of Ben Jonson among the Alleyn papers at Dulwich. He doubtless wrote them from recollection, and as they differ materially from

peice of Chapman's translation of the 13 of the Iliads, which he thinketh well done.1

That Done said to him, he wrott that Epitaph on Prince Henry, Look to me, Faith, to match Sir Ed: Herbert in obscurenesse.

He hath by heart some verses of Spenser's Calender, about wyne, between Coline and Percye.2

the printed copy, they may well find a place in this note. With Jonson, as with the Last Minstrel

"Each blank in faithless memory void
The Poet's glowing thought supplied."

"How happy is he borne and taught,
That serveth not another's will!
Whose armor is his honest thought,
And silly truth his highest skill

"Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soule is still prepared for death,
Untied to the world with care

Of Princes' grace or vulgar breath.

"Who hath his life from humors freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreate;
Whose state can neyther flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make accusers great.

"Who envieth none whom chance doth rayse,
Or vice; who never understood

How swordes give slighter wounds than prayse,
Nor rules of state, but rules of good.

"Who God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
And entertaynes the harmless day
With a well-chosen booke or friend.

"This man is free from servile bandes
Of hope to rise or feare to fall;
Lord of himselfe, though not of landes,
And having nothing, yet hath all."

COLLIER'S Memoirs of Edward Alleyn, p. 52.

'Sir Henry Wotton was the author of the famous definition of an ambassador as a "man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country." This saying came to the ear of James, and gave him mortal offence.

Instead of "Coline and Percye," it should have been "Cuddie and Percie," see Collier's Spenser, vol. i. p. 118. Who cannot fancy he hears Jonson repeating these lines; and Hawthornden" re-echoing the words?

"Whoever casts to compass wightye prise,

And thinks to throw out thondring words of threate,
Let pour in lavish cups and thriftie bits of meate,

For Bacchus' fruit is friend to Phoebus wise;

And when with Wine the brain begins to sweate,

The numbers flow as fast as spring doth rise.

Thou kenst not Percie how the rhyme should rage,
O! if my temples were distaind with wine,

And girt in girlonds of wild Yvie twine,

How I could reare the Muse on stately stage,
And teache her tread aloft in buskin fine,

With quaint Bellona in her equipage !"


Mr. Hales, the last biographer of Spenser (Globe edition, 1869), quotes these Conversations from the wretched edition of 1711!


The conceit of Done's Transformation, or Meтeμvxwσis, was, that he sought the soule of that aple which Eva pulled, and thereafter made it the soule of a bitch, then of a shee wolf, and so of a woman: his general purpose was to have brought in all the bodies of the Hereticks from the soule of Cain, and at last left it in the bodie of Calvin : Of this he never wrotte but one sheet, and now, since he was made Doctor, repenteth highlie, and seeketh to destroy all his poems.


That Petronius, Plinius Secundus, Tacitus, spoke best Latine; that Quintiliane's, 6, 7, 8, bookes were not only to be read, but altogither digested. Juvenal, Perse, Horace, Martiall, for delight; and so was Pindar. For health, Hippocrates.

Of their Nation, Hooker's Ecclesiasticall historie (whose children are now beggars), for church matters." Selden's Titles of Honour, for Antiquities here; and ane book of the Gods of the Gentiles, whose names are in the Scripture, of Selden's.3

Tacitus, he said, wrott the secrets of the Councill and Senate, as Suetonius did those of the Cabinet and Courte.

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For a Heroik poeme, he said, ther was no such ground as King Arthur's fiction; and that S. P. Sidney had ane intention to have transform'd all his Arcadia to the stories of King Arthure.4


Daniel was at jealousies with him.5

Donne's "Metempsychosis, or Progress of the Soul," bears the date of 16th August, 1601, when Donne was twenty-eight years old. It commences,

The "

"I sing the progress of a deathless soul,

Whom Fate, which God made, but doth not controul,
Placed in most shapes."

one sheet" must have held fifty-two stanzas of ten lines each. One of the most striking passages is in condemnation of killing fish. Had Izaak Walton forgotten this when he wrote his Life? Jonson (see Discoveries, p. 398 a), seems to allude to Donne as one of the persons who gained advancement in their professions by having only "saluted Poetry on the by," instead of having, like himself, "wholly addicted himself to her."

2 This statement does not at all agree with what Izaak Walton says of Hooker's family. He left four daughters-Alice, Cicely, Jane, and Margaret-all of whom were traced by Walton. Perhaps Jonson merely meant that they were not so well off as such a man's children ought to have been.

Selden's "Titles of Honor," a small quarto, was first published in 1614. It is prefaced by an Epistle from Jonson, which will be found in the "Underwoods" (ante, p. 301). His De Diis Syris, Syntagmata Duo, a history of the Idol deities of the Old Testament, was published in 1617. A copy of it, "with autograph and MS. notes by Ben Jonson," was sold at Bright's sale for 1l. 125.

* No man ever had a sounder judgment in literary matters than Jonson. Not only did the subject of Arthur attract Spenser and Sidney, but Milton often pondered over it; and

"Dryden, in immortal strain,

Had raised the table round again,
But that a ribald King and Court
Bade him toil on to make them sport."

The subject then sunk into the hands of Blackmore, in common with Queen Elizabeth and the Creation. At last in our own day it has been happily taken up by Mr. Tennyson and Lord Lytton. 5 As Gifford says, Jonson's disinclination to Daniel broke out rather early." He ridicules him in Every Man in his Humour, see vol. i. p. 58 a; and sneers at him in The Silent Woman, vol. i. p. 415 6; and again in The Staple of News, vol. ii. p. 310 a. See also The Forest, vol. iii. P. 272 6, where, speaking of Lucy, Countess of Bedford, he says→→

"Tho' she have a better verser got
(Or Poet, in the Court account), than I,
And who doth me, though I not him, envy."

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