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Whilst they the while do pine
And thirst, midst all their wine.
What greater plague can hell itself devise,
Thou canst not find them stuff,
To please their palates: let 'em them refuse,
She is too fair an hostess, 'twere a sin
Yet if they will have any of thy store,
And let those things in plush,
Like what they will, and more contented be
With what Brome swept from thee.*
• With what Broome swept from thee.] There seems to have existed a wish among the poet's friends to embroil him with his old servant, Richard Brome: it was, however, without effect, for the "envious Ben" continued to esteem him to the close of his life. Very shortly after the condemnation of the New Inn, Brome produced a successful piece-this, if ever printed, is lost; but a second comedy, (The Northern Lass,) still more successful perhaps, which he brought forward in the same year, has an excellent commendatory copy of verses by our poet prefixed to it, in which he terms the author "his old and faithful servant, and, by his continued virtue, his loving friend, Richard Brome."
In a duodecimo edition of Jonson's minor poems, published about three years after his death, the Ode to Himself is given with several variations for the worse, and among the rest, the 7th and 8th lines of the third stanza are thus impudently converted into personal satire, probably to bolster up the passage quoted in this
"Broome's sweepings do as well,
It is needless to repeat that this could not come from Jonson. The Ode is here given as printed under his own eye, and he is accountable for nothing beyond it.
I know thy worth, and that thy lofty strains
This only in my Ben I faulty find,
He's angry, they'll not see him that are blind.
And string thy Horace ? let each Muse of nine
I should myself suspect,
The palsy were as well thy brain's disease,
The glories of thy King;
And on the wings of verse his chariot bear,
Yet let thy Muse as well some raptures raise,
I would not have thee choose
Only a treble Muse;
But have this envious, ignorant age to know,
TO BEN JONSON,
Upon occasion of his Ode of defiance annexed to his Play of the New Inn.
(BY T. CAREW.)
IS true, dear Ben, thy just chastizing hand
To their swoln pride, and empty scribbling due;
Touch'd by the Alchemist, doth since decline
And blushing evening, when she goes to bed;
This hath the stronger wing, or that doth shine,
In equal shares thy love on all thy race,
We may distinguish of their sex, and place;
Souls into all, they are not all alike.
Why should the follies then of this dull age
When thine own tongue proclaims thy itch of praise?
Upon thy works, by the detracting world, What malice can suggest: let the rout say, "The running sands, that, ere thou make a play, Count the slow minutes, might a Godwin frame, To swallow, when thou hast done, thy shipwreck'd name."
Let them the dear expense of oil upbraid,
Suck'd by thy watchful lamp, " that hath betray'd
5 These are the old accusations against Jonson. His enemies had apparently more malice than invention, since they merely repeat what Decker and his party had urged against him thirty years before. This threadbare ribaldry was thought too valuable to be kept from the readers of Shakspeare, and therefore they are treated with it by Messrs. Steevens and Malone in a hundred different places.
ODE TO BEN JONSON,
upon his Ode to Himself.
(BY J. CLEVELAND.)
ROCEED in thy brave rage,
Unto that height, as Rome in all her state,
Whose greatest senators did silent sit,
Which those more temperate times,
Against his supposed fault;
That from that full vein did so freely flow:
The Graces jointly strove to make that breast
We must not make thee less
Than Aristophanes :
He got the start of thee in time and place,
But if thou make thy feasts
And that a cloud of shadows shall break in,
This alludes to the well known distich of Plato, which is thus rendered by Scaliger :
"Ut templum Charites quod non labatur haberent,
Invenêre tuum pectus, Aristophanes."