« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
the Bower sat the goddess CHLORIS, accompanied with fourteen nymphs,1 their apparel white embroidered with silver, trimmed at the shoulders with great leaves of green embroidered with gold, falling one under the other. And of the same work were their bases, their head-tires of flowers, mixed with silver and gold, with some sprigs of ægrets among, and from the top of their dressing a thin veil hanging down.
All which beheld, the NYMPHS, RIVERS, and FOUNTAINS, with the SPRING, sung this rejoicing Song.
Grand Cho. O, 'twere a fame to know her name!
Whether she were the root,
Or they did take th' impression from her foot.
The MASQUERS here dance their
Which done, the farther prospect of the Scene changeth into air, with a low landscape, in part covered with clouds: and in that instant, the heaven opening, JUNO and IRIS are seen; and above them many airy spirits, sitting in the clouds.
Grand Cho. Run out, all the floods, in The truth of what is done below
Juno. Now Juno and the air shall know
joy, with your silver feet,
And haste to meet
The enamoured Spring,
For whom the warbling Fountains sing
The story of the flowers,
At Juno's soft command, and Iris' showers,
From our discoloured bow.
Iris, what news?
Iris. The air is clear, your bow can tell, Chloris renowned, Spight fled to hell; The business all is well,
And Cupid sues.
Juno. For pardon! Does he?
More than your birds have eyes.
Juno. The gods have ears: Offences made against the deities Are soon forgot.
If who offends be wise.
Here, out of the earth ariseth a Hill, and on the top of it a globe, on which FAME is seen standing with her trumpet in her hand; and on the hill are seated four persons, representing POESY, HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE, and SCULPTURE; who together with the Nymphs, Floods, and Fountains, make a full quire; at which FAME begins to mount, and moving her wings flieth, singing, up to heaven.
Fame. Rise, golden Fame, and give thy name a birth.
Cho. From great and generous actions done on earth.
Fame. The life of Fame is action. Cho. Understood, That action must be virtuous, great, and good.
Fame. Thus Fame ascends by all degrees to heaven,
And leaves a light here brighter than the
Grand Cho. Let all applaud the sight,
The honours of his Chloris, to the king.
The MASQUERS dance with the LORDS.
And thus it ended.
singular strength and beauty. Thus Spenser: "Be sure that nought may save thee from to die."-WHAL.
The Grecism is, as Whalley says, very elegant ; in our language the expression is a mere bar barism, feeble, ungraceful, and ungrammatical. }
We have now reached the scene of contention between our poet and Inigo Jones. Till this period, they appear to have lived in sufficient harmony. The writer of Jones's life in the Biographia Britannica, says that the quarrel broke out soon after 1609, and continued to the death of Jonson; this is the eternal echo: and I am weary of repeating that it is utterly false and groundless. The first symptoms of disaffection on the poet's side, appear in the Tale of a Tub, written in 1633, and from the language there used it is more than probable that the quarrel originated not with him, but his associate.
If the reader has looked through these Masques, he must have noticed the friendly solicitude of Jonson to put forward the talents of this man: this was the more important, as the first attempts of Jones had been somewhat unsuccessful. In 1605-6, he was employed on a Masque prepared for the king's entertainment at Oxford. "The machinery and stages," (says my author) were chiefly constructed by one Mr. Jones, a great traveller, who undertook to furnish them with rare devices, but performed very little to what was expected." Lel. Col. vol. ii. 646. He was not more fortunate at Cambridge, where he was employed on the machinery for the representation of Ajax. Till the death of Prince Henry, then, in 1612, nothing but kindness appears on the part of Jonson. In that year, or the next, Jones went abroad, and pursued his studies in Italy for several years; yet Jonson is ridiculously charged with attacking him in Bartholomew Fair, which was brought out in 1614. No mention of his name occurs in any part of our poet's works, (though the Master of the Revels says he was employed in the Prince's Masque,) till 1625, when he joined in the production of Pan's Anniversary. Another interval of five years took place before he was called upon again, when, as Jonson says, they met by the king's command, and consulted together on the construction of Love's Triumph, and Chloridia. During this long period, not a murmur of discontent appears to have escaped Jonson. Why then is it taken for granted that the quarrel which followed the exhibition of the last piece originated solely with him? Even in the description of the scenery, which evidently proceeded from Jonson, there is a visible anxiety to recommend it to favour.
But what, after all, occasioned the breach? Dr. Aikin, in that worthless compilation, the General Biography, is pleased to insinuate that it arose from our author's envy of Inigo's poetry! The only poetry, I believe, of which the architect was ever known to be guilty, is a little piece of five stanzas, written in 1610, and prefixed to the first edition of Coryat's Crudities. I will subjoin the best of them, that the reader may form some idea of the transcendent excellence of those verses which disturbed the tranquillity of Jonson for more than twenty years!
"Enough of this; all pens in this doe travell
To track thy steps, who, Proteus like, dost varie
It seems reasonable to suppose that Chloridia was not so well received as Love's Triumph. Ben's share in it, as a poet, was not very important, nor, to say the truth, very remarkable either for harmony or expression. In the construction of the fable, both took part alike; but Inigo chose to fasten on the verse, and to attribute their want of success solely to its demerits, while he arrogated to himself a more than ordinary portion of applause for his skill in painting the scenery. He had a fair field before
him he was rich and popular; his associate was sick, confined to "the bed and boards," and in want of everything. Jones was, besides, as vain as Jonson was proud; as arrogant as Jonson was overbearing; he was also extremely petulant. Pennant claims him for a countryman on the strength of his "violent passions;" and we know, from the charges carried up by the Commons to the House of Lords against him, that his language was of the most insolent kind. Jonson, however, bore it for two years, when he wrote, in 1633, the ridiculous Motion of Squire Tub of Totten; and, as this perhaps did not silence his adversary, two years afterwards he drew up, and handed about in private, the verses which Whalley reprinted among the Epigrams. To prevent the necessity of recurring to this disagreeable subject, I shall give them here. The first notice of them appears in Howel's Letters.
"I thank you for the last regalo you gave me at your Museum, and for the good company. I heard you censured' lately at court, that you have lighted too foul upon Sir Inigo, and that you write with a porcupine's quill, dipt in too much gall: excuse me that I am so free with you, it is because I am, in no common way of friendship,
May 3, 1635.
This letter, which is directed "to his honoured friend and father, M. Ben Johnson," having failed of effect, he wrote a second, bearing date July 5, 1635, in which he repeats his allusion to the porcupine's quill, and, after deprecating the asperity of the satire on the "royal architect," concludes thus: "If your spirit will not let you retract, yet you shall do well to repress any more copies of the satire; for to deal plainly with you, you have lost some ground at court by it; and as I hear from a good hand, the King, who hath so great a judgment in poetry (as in all other things else), is not well pleased therewith. Dispense with this.
Your respectful son and servitor,
In consequence, perhaps, of this remonstrance, Jonson recalled and destroyed every copy (as he probably thought,) of his satire, for not a line of it was found among his papers: but there is in some minds a perverse passion for perpetuating the memory of enmities, which no sense of propriety can subdue. A copy, most probably secreted by a person of this description, fell into the hands of Mr. Vertue, who communicated it, as a great favour, to Whalley, by whom it was sent to the press. Thus, in despite of the author, this wretched squabble has reached posterity.3
1 Tour in Wales, vol. ii. p. 150.
2 I heard you censured lately at court.] It might be so; but the validity of the assertion depends upon the character of Howel's informer, a good hand, as he calls him just below. One thing, however, is certain, that the king had listened, some time before, and, as far as appears, without displeasure, to an attack upon Inigo (Coronel Vitruvius) in a masque prepared solely for his entertainment, and presented by one who would on no account have hazarded a word that was likely to give him offence. See p. 221 a.
3 [The question of authenticity has long ago been settled by Mr. Collier, who discovered among the Bridgewater MSS. a copy of the Expostulation in Jonson's autograph. Why Gifford (see note 1) should reject the fifth verse on account of its want of melody will amaze the readers of many another couplet in these volumes. Macaulay hardly goes too far when he says that "Ben's heroic couplets resemble blocks [for sails] rudely hewn out by an unpractised hand with a blunt hatchet" and then goes on to describe them as "jagged mis-shapen distiches."-F. C.]
An Expostulation with Inigo Jones."
Master Surveyor, you that first began
Able to talk of Euclid, and correct
By all your titles, and whole style at once,
Or are you so ambitious 'bove your peers,
You'll be, as Langley said, "an Inigo still." What makes your wretchedness to bray so loud
In town and court? are you grown rich and proud?
Your trappings will not change you, change your mind;
No velvet suit you wear will alter kind.
1 An Expostulation.] That some part of this may have proceeded from Jonson I am not prepared to question; but it has assuredly been much corrupted or interpolated. The fifth line could not be written by our poet, who was much too good a judge of accent to give this for a verse. 2 With mistook names, &c.] A Mr. Webb, related to Jones, published some account of him, in imitation, as it seems to me, of Sir Thomas Urquhart's Life of the Admirable Crichton. In this ridiculous rhapsody we are told that "Mr. Jones was not only proclaimed by public acclamation the Vitruvius of England, but of all Christendom; that his abilities in all human sciences surpassed most of his age; that he was
What is the cause you pomp it so, I ask?
Not they that sided her, Dame Poetry,3
To hold her up: O shows, shows, mighty
The eloquence of masques! what need of prose,
Or verse or prose, t'express immortal you?
Painting and carpentry are the soul of masque.
Pack with your pedling poetry to the stage,
Term of [you] architects, is called Design;
a perfect master of the mathematics, and had some insight into the two learned languages," &c. &c. The fact is, that he knew scarcely anything of either. He was a good scene painter, a better machinist, and an incomparable architect. I give Jonson full credit for what he says of his antagonist's mistakes.
3 Th' ascent of Lady Fame, which none could spy,
Not they that sided her, Dame Poetry.] This alludes to the scenery and decorations of Chloridia. As these were the Surveyor's province, it is possible those here referred to were so injudiciously contrived or ordered as to occasion the sarcasms of our poet.-WHAL.