תמונות בעמוד

The chapel empties, and thou mayst be gone
Now, sun, and post away the rest of day:
These two, now holy church hath made them one,
Do long to make themselves so another way:
There is a feast behind,
To them of kind,
Which their glad parents taught

One to the other, long ere these to light were brought.

Haste, haste, officious sun, and send them night
Some hours before it should, that these may
All that their fathers and their mothers might
Of nuptial sweets, at such a season, owe,
To propagate their names,
And keep their fames
Alive, which else would die;
For fame keeps virtue up, and it posterity.

The ignoble never lived, they were awhile
Like swine, or other cattle here on earth:
Their names are not recorded on the file
Of life, that fall so; Christians know their birth
Alone, and such a race,
We pray may grace,
Your fruitful spreading vine,
But dare not ask our wish in language Fescennine.

Yet, as we may, we will,—with chaste desires,
The holy perfumes of the marriage-bed,
Be kept alive, those sweet and sacred fires
Of love between you and your lovely-head!
That when you both are old,
You find no cold

There; but renewed, Say,
After the last child born, This is our wedding-day.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Till you behold a race to fill your hall,
A Richard, and a Hierome, by their names
Upon a Thomas, or a Francis call;
A Kate, a Frank, to honour their grand-dames,
And 'tween their grandsires' thighs,
Like pretty spies,
Peep forth a gem; to see
How each one plays his part, of the large pedigree

And never may there want one of the stem,
To be a watchful servant for this state;
But like an arm of eminence 'mongst them,
Extend a reaching virtue early and late |
Whilst the main tree still found
Upright and sound,
By this sun's noonsted's made
So great; his body now alone projects the shade.

They both are slipp'd to bed; shut fast the door,
And let him freely gather love's first-fruits.
He's master of the office; yet no more
Exacts than she is pleased to pay : no suits,
Strifes, murmurs, or delay,
Will last till day;
Night and the sheets will show
The longing couple all that elder lovers know.




Doth most humbly show it,
To your majesty, your poet :

āşşHAT whereas your royal father, jo James the blessed, pleas'd the rather, * Of his special grace to letters, To make all the Muses debtors To his bounty; by extension Of a free poetic pension, A large hundred marks annuity, To be given me in gratuity For done service, and to come : And that this so accepted sum, Or dispens'd in books or bread, (For with both the muse was fed) Hath drawn on me from the times, All the envy of the rhymes, And the ratling pit-pat noise Of the less poetic boys, When their pot-guns aim to hit, With their pellets of small wit, Parts of me they judg’d decay’d; But we last out still unlay'd. Please your majesty to make Of your grace, for goodness sake, Those your father's marks, your pounds:" Let their spite, which now abounds,

* Those your father's marks, your pounds.] The petition succeeded ; the reader has, annexed to our poet's life, a copy of the

Then go on, and do its worst;
This would all their envy burst:
And so warm the poet's tongue,
You'd read a snake in his next song.



& F to my mind, great lord, I had a state,” § I would present you now with curious plate Of Noremberg or Turky; hang your rooms, Not with the Arras, but the Persian looms: I would, if price or prayer could them get, Send in what or Romano, Tintoret, Titian, or Raphael, Michael Angelo, Have left in fame to equal, or out-go The old Greek hands in picture, or in stone. This I would do, could H think Weston one Catch'd with these arts, wherein the judge is wise As far as sense, and only by the eyes.

warrant creating him poet laureat, with a salary of 24, 1oo per annum. WHAL.

The warrant is dated March 1630, the Petition must therefore be referred to the beginning of that year. * If to my mind, great lord, I had a state.] The learned reader may compare this with the 8th ode of the fourth book of Horace, as it seems to be copied from it. Our poet, as we find by some verses wrote by no well-wisher to him, received forty pounds for this Epigram. Let the reader judge which was greatest, the o of the treasurer, or the genius and address of Jonson. HAL. Whalley has strange notions of copying. Jonson has taken a hint from the opening of the Ode to Censorinus, and that is all. The verses to which Whalley alludes are in the 4to, and 12mo.


But you, I know, my lord, and know you can
Discern between a statue and a man ;

editions, 1640, in which this Epigram also appears; in Eliot's Poems, they are thus prefixed.

“To Ben Jonson, upon his verses to the earl of Portland,
lord Treasurer.

“Your verses are commended, and 'tis true,
That they were very good, I mean to you;
For they return'd you, Ben, as I was told,
A certain sum of forty pound in gold;
The verses then being rightly understood, -
His lordship, not Ben Jonson, made them good." p. 27.

This poor simpleton, who appears to have earned a wretched subsistence by harassing the charitable with doggrel petitions for meat and clothes, was answered (according to his folly) by some one in Jonson's name; for the lines, though published in the small edition so often quoted, were not written by him.


“My verses were commended, thou dost say,
And they were very good, yet thou thinkst nay.
For thou objectest, as thou hast been told,
Th' envy'd return of forty pound in gold.
Fool, do not rate my rhymes; I have found thy vice
Is to make cheap the lord, the lines, the price.
But bark thou on ; I pity thee, poor cur, -
That thou shouldst lose thy noise, thy foam, thy stur,
To be known what thou art, thou blatant beast :
But writing against me, thou thinkst at least
I now would write on thee; no, wretch, thy name
Cannot work out unto it such a fame:
No man will tarry by thee, as he goes,
To ask thy name, if he have half a nose,
But flee thee like the pest. Walk not the street
Out in the dog-days, lest the killer meet
Thy noddle with his club, and dashing forth
Thy dirty brains, men see thy want of worth.” p. 119.

The question proposed by Whalley for the exercise of the reader's judgment seems very unnecessary. Forty pounds was a very considerable present in those days, and whether bestowed on want or worth, or both, argues a liberal and a noble spirit. The “Epigram ” was probably written in 1632.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« הקודםהמשך »