« הקודםהמשך »
Can do the things that statues do deserve,
you have studied, are the arts of life ;
TO MY MUSE, THE LADY DIGBY,
ON HER HUSBAND, SIR KENELM DIGBY.
HOUGH, happy Muse, thou know my Digby
In honour, courtesy, and all the parts
Witness his action done at Scanderoon,
* Witness his action done at Scanderoon, Upon his birth-day, the eleventh of June.] This refers to an action in the bay of Scanderoon in 1628, wherein he beat certain vessels belonging to the states of Venice. “This onset was made,” says Antony Wood, “as 'tis reported on the eleventh of June, (his birth day as Ben Jonson will have it,) yet a pamphlet that was published the same year, giving an account of all the transactions of that fight, tells us, it was on the 16th of the same month; which, if true, then the fortune of that day is again marred.” To all which we must answer, that this same pamphlet or letter, which gives the relation of this action, was dated indeed on the 16th of June, but it expressly says that the action happened on the 11th of the same month; and this is confirmed likewise by Mr. Ferrar's Epitaph on the death of sir Kenelm Digby, which makes the 11th of June memorable for his birth-day, the day of his victory, and the day of his death. The epitaph is as follows:
“Under this stone the matchless Digby lies,
It is remarkable that Antony Wood refers us to this epitaph, and quotes two verses from it, and yet disputes the authority of our poet for the time of his birth. WHAL. Wood was probably influenced by Aubrey, who observes on the couplet quoted by Whalley, “Mr. Elias Ashmole assures me from two or three nativities by Dr. Napier, that Ben Jonson was mistaken, and did it for the rhyme sake.” We have here a couple of dreamers —but they are not worth an argument: it is more to the purpose to observe from the latter, that “sir Kenelm Digby was held to be the most accomplished cavalier of his time, the Mirandola of his age, that he understood ten or twelve languages, and was well versed in all kinds of learning, very generous and liberal to deserving persons, and a great patron to Ben Jonson, who has some excellent verses on him,” &c. Zetters by Æminent Persons, vol. ii. p. 326. Sir Kenelm Digby was one of our poet's adopted sons: he is now more remembered for his chemical reveries, his sympathetic powder, &c., than for his talents, and accomplishments. He was, however, an eminent man, and a benefactor to the literature of his country. He died in 1665.
When the apostle Barnaby the bright
O what a fame 'twill be,
A NEW-YEAR'S GIFT, SUNG TO KING CHARLES,
Lute, lyre, theorbo, all are call’d to-day;
To shew the rites, and usher forth the way
Upon them, next to Spenser's noble book.] Sir Kenelm had a great affection for the Fairy Queen, and wrote a commentary on a single stanza of that poem. It is called, Observations on the 22d stanza in the 9th canto of the ad book of Spenser's Fairy Queen, Lond. 1644. Octavo. WHAL.
Of the new year, in a new silken warp,
To fit the softness of your year's-gift; when
We sing the best of monarchs, masters, men ; For had we here said less, we had sung nothing
Chorus of Nymphs and Shepherds. Rector Cho. To-day old Janus opens the new year,
And shuts the old : Haste, haste, all loyal swains, That know the times and seasons when t' appear,
And offer your just service on these plains; Best kings expect first fruits of your glad gains. i Shep. Pan is the great preserver of our bounds. 2 Shep. To him we owe all profits of our grounds. 3 Shep. Our milk. 4 Shep.
Our fells. 5 Shep.
Our fleeces. 6 Shep.
And first lambs. 7 Shep. Our teeming ewes. 8 Shep.
And lusty mounting rams. 9 Shep. See where he walks, with Mira by his side. Cho. Sound, sound his praises loud, and with his
That drives the hart to seek unused ways Shep. And in the chase, more than Sylvanus can; Cho. Hear, O ye groves, and, hills, resound his
Sister of Pan, and glory of the spring ; Nym. Who walks on earth, as May still went along. Cho. Rivers and valleys, echo what we sing.
Of Pan we sing, the chief of leaders, Pan, Cho. of Shep. That leads our flocks and us, and calls
To better pastures than great Pales can :
Of brightest Mira is our song ; the grace
And were she lost, could best supply her place:
Rivers and valleys, echo what we sing. i Shep. Where'er they tread the enamour'd ground,
The fairest flowers are always found :
Still waited on them where they were.
Pan only our great shepherd is,
Our great, our good. Where one's so drest
In truth of colours, both are best.
And hunting, Pan, exceedeth thee:
He is the author of our peace.
The better grass and flowers are found.