Lapas attēli

Whilst they the while do pine

And thirst, midst all their wine.

What greater plague can hell itself devise,
Than to be willing thus to tantalize?

Thou canst not find them stuff,
That will be bad enough

To please their palates: let 'em them refuse,
For some Pye-Corner Muse;

She is too fair an hostess, 'twere a sin
For them to like thine Inn:
'Twas made to entertain
Guests of a nobler strain;

Yet if they will have any of thy store,
Give them some scraps, and send them from thy door.

And let those things in plush,
Till they be taught to blush,

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

note :

"Broome's sweepings do as well,
There, as his master's meal."

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
Write not to clothes, but brains;
But thy great spleen doth rise,
'Cause moles will have no eyes:

This only in my Ben I faulty find,

He's angry, they'll not see him that are blind.
Why should the scene be mute,
'Cause thou canst touch thy lute,

And string thy Horace ? let each Muse of nine
Claim thee, and say, Thou'rt mine.
'Twere fond to let all other flames expire,
To sit by Pindar's fire:
For by so strange neglect,

I should myself suspect,

The palsy were as well thy brain's disease,
If they could shake thy Muse which way they please.
And though thou well canst sing

The glories of thy King;

And on the wings of verse his chariot bear,
To heaven, and fix it there;

Yet let thy Muse as well some raptures raise,
To please him, as to praise.

I would not have thee choose

Only a treble Muse;

But have this envious, ignorant age to know,
Thou that canst sing so high, canst reach as low.


Upon occasion of his Ode of defiance annexed to his Play of the New Inn.


IS true, dear Ben, thy just chastizing hand
Hath fix'd upon the sotted age a brand

To their swoln pride, and empty scribbling due;
It can nor judge, nor write: and yet 'tis true,
Thy comic Muse from the exalted line

Touch'd by the Alchemist, doth since decline
From that her zenith, and foretels a red

And blushing evening, when she goes to bed;
Yet such, as shall outshine the glimmering light,
With which all stars shall gild the following night.
Nor think it much (since all thy eaglets may
Endure the sunny trial) if we say

This hath the stronger wing, or that doth shine,
Trick'd up in fairer plumes, since all are thine :
Who hath his flock of cackling geese compared
With thy tuned quire of swans ? or else who dared
To call thy births deform'd? but if thou bind,
By city custom, or by gavel-kind,

In equal shares thy love on all thy race,

We may distinguish of their sex, and place;
Though one hand form them, and though one brain


Souls into all, they are not all alike.

Why should the follies then of this dull age
Draw from thy pen such an immodest rage,
As seems to blast thy else-immortal bays,

When thine own tongue proclaims thy itch of praise?
Such thirst will argue drought. No, let be hurl'd

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
To theft the blood of martyr'd authors, spilt
Into thy ink, whilst thou grow'st pale with guilt."5
Repine not at the taper's thrifty waste,
That sleeks thy terser poems; nor is haste
Praise, but excuse; and if thou overcome
A knotty writer, bring the booty home:
Nor think it theft if the rich spoils, so torn
From conquer'd authors, be as trophies worn.
Let others glut on the extorted praise
Of vulgar breath, trust thou to after days:
Thy labour'd works shall live, when Time devours
The abortive offspring of their hasty hours.
Thou art not of their rank; the quarrel lies
Within thine own verge: then let this suffice,
The wiser world doth greater thee confess
Than all men else, than thyself only less.

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.



upon his Ode to Himself.


ROCEED in thy brave rage,
Which hath rais'd up our stage

Unto that height, as Rome in all her state,
Or Greece might emulate;

Whose greatest senators did silent sit,
Hear and applaud the wit,

Which those more temperate times,
Used when it tax'd their crimes:
Socrates stood, and heard with true delight,
All that the sharp Athenian Muse could write

Against his supposed fault;
And did digest the salt

That from that full vein did so freely flow:
And though that we do know

The Graces jointly strove to make that breast
A temple for their rest,

We must not make thee less

Than Aristophanes :

He got the start of thee in time and place,
But thou hast gain'd the goal in art and grace.

But if thou make thy feasts
For the high-relish'd guests,

And that a cloud of shadows shall break in,
It were almost a sin

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."

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