Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

XXXIX.

ON OLD COLT.

OR all night-sins, with others' wives unknown,

Colt now doth daily penance in his own.

For

XL.

ON MARGARET RATCLIFFE.

MARBLE, weep, for thou dost cover
A dead beauty underneath thee,
R ich as nature could bequeath thee:
Grant then, no rude hand remove her.
A ll the gazers on the skies
Read not in fair heaven's story,
E xpresser truth, or truer glory,
T han they might in her bright eyes.
R are as wonder was her wit;
A nd, like nectar, ever flowing :
Till time, strong by her bestowing,
Conquer'd hath both life and it;
L ife, whose grief was out of fashion
I n these times. Few so have rued
Fate in a brother. To conclude,
F or wit, feature, and true passion,
E arth, thou hast not such another.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

Few so have rued Fate in a brother.] Of this lady, Margaret Ratcliffe, I can give the reader no information. She was probably a collateral branch of the family of the earl of Sussex, for the marriage of whose daughter Jonson wrote the beautiful Masque of the Hue and Cry after Cupid. From a subsequent Epigram I collect that she had five brothers, of whom she had the misfortune to lose four; two in the field, in Ireland, and two by sickness, in the Low Countries.

[merged small][ocr errors]

XLI.

ON GIPSY.

SIPSY, new bawd, is turn'd physician,

And gets more gold than all the college can :

Such her quaint practice is, so it allures,
For what she gave, a whore; a bawd, she cures.

XLII.

see.

On GILES AND JOAN.
HO says that Giles and Joan at discord be?

Th' observing neighbours no such mood can
Indeed, poor Giles repents he married ever;
But that his Joan doth too. And Giles would never,
By his free-will, be in Joan's company :
No more would Joan he should. Giles riseth early,
And having got him out of doors is glad ;
The like is Joan : but turning home is sad ;
And so is Joan. Oftimes when Giles doth find
Harsh sights at home, Giles wisheth he were blind ;
All this doth Joan : or that his long-yearn'd life
Were quite out-spun; the like wish hath his wife.
The children that he keeps, Giles swears are none
Of his begetting; and so swears his Joan.
In all affections she concurreth still.
If now, with man and wife, to will and nill
The self-same things,' a note of concord be
I know no couple better can agree !
Jonson had reason, therefore, to say that few had rued such fate in
their relations.

to will and nill
The self-same things, &c.] Idem velle atque nolle, ea demum
amicitia est.

7

[ocr errors]

XLIII.

To ROBERT EARL OF SALISBURY.8

HAT need hast thou of me, or of my muse,

Whose actions so themselves do celebrate ? Which should thy country's love to speak

refuse, Her foes enough would fame thee in their hate. Tofore, great men were glad of poets; now,

not the worst, am covetous of thee : Yet dare not to my thought least hope allow

Of adding to thy fame; thine may to me, When in my book men read but Cecil's name,

And what I write thereof find far, and free From servile flattery, common poets' shame,

As thou stand'st clear of the necessity.

8 Robert earl of Salisbury.] Younger son of lord Burleigh. He and his elder brother, William, were both created earls in the same day. Robert in the morning ; to give his descendants precedency of those of William.

“ This man,” Walpole says, “who had the fortune or misfortune” (why misfortune ? but this poor stuff was meant for wit) “ to please both Elizabeth and James the First; who like the son of the duke of Lerma had the uncommon fate of succeeding his own father as prime minister, and who unlike that son of Lerma did not, though treacherous to every body else, supplant his own father, is sufficiently known; his public story may be found in all our histories, his particular in the Biographia.” Cat. of Royal and Noble Authors. In none of these, however, did Walpole look for the "story" of this eminent statesman ; but in the ignorant, impure, and scandalous reports of the Weldons, Peytons, and other puritanical disseminators of falsehood, as better suited to the base and envious nature of his own spirit. When the time shall come for Walpole himself to be added to the number of “noble authors,” by a sterner biographer than Mr. Parke, he will, if fairly represented, be found to be one of the most odious and contemptible of the whole "Catalogue.”

XLIV.

ON CHUFFE, BANKS the Usurer's Kinsman.

HUFFE, lately rich in name, in chattels,

goods,
And rich in issue to inherit all,
Ere blacks were bought for his own funeral,
Saw all his race approach the blacker floods :

He meant they thither should make swift repair,
When he made him executor, might be heir.

XLV.

ON MY FIRST SON.

AREWELL, thou child of my right hand, and

joy ;'

My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy : Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay, Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.

9 Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy.] The expression here must be explained : thou child of my right hand shews us his son's name was Benjamin; that word being usually taken as a compound of two Hebrew words, which imply that meaning. But some modern commentators more justly interpret the word Benjamin to signify the son of days, or of old age. Benjamin was the youngest son, and probably born when his father was advanced in years. WHAL.

My predecessor seems to write without reading what he is about to explain. The title declares the Epitaph to be written on his first son; Benjamin, says the critic, was the youngest son, and probably born when the father was advanced in years! This is sad trifling; but Whalley appears to me to have contented himself, upon all occasions, with second-hand authorities, which are commonly worse than none at all. In one of the spiteful attempts made to injure Jonson by his “friend” Drummond, he relates the following anecdote, which he had (he says) from the poet's own mouth. “While the plague raged in London, he was on a visit with Camden, at the house of sir Robert Cotton, in the country. Here he saw, in

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

O, could I lose all father, now! for why,
Will man lament the state he should envy ?
To have so soon scaped world's, and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age!
Rest in soft peace, and ask'd, say here doth lie
BEN Jonson his best piece of poetry :
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

1

XLVI.

TO SIR LUCKLESS W00-ALL.

S this the sir, who, some waste wife to win,

A knight-hood bought, to go a wooing in?

'Tis Luckless, he that took up one on band To pay at's day of marriage. By my

By my hand The knight-wright's cheated then ! he'll never pay : Yes, now he wears his knighthood every day. a dream, his eldest son, with the mark of a bloody cross (the token of the plague) on his forehead. Alarmed at this, he prayed to God for him, and went in the morning to Camden's room, and told him what he had seen. Camden desired him not to be dejected, for that it was merely the creation of his own fears : but there came a letter from his wife, to inform him that the child was dead of the plague. Jonson added, that his son appeared to him of a manly stature, and of such growth as he thought he would be at the Resurrection." There is enough in this narrative to convince any one but the vile calumniator who reports it, that the fond father was not, as he asserts, void of all religion :-but to the purpose of the note. The plague broke out in 1603, the child was then in his seventh

year; he was born, therefore, in 1596, when Jonson, instead of being “advanced in years,” was just turned of two and twenty !

The last couplet contains a pretty allusion to the cheerless advice of Martial, in one of his melancholy moods :

Si vitare velis acerba quædam,
Et tristes animi cavere morsus,
Nulli te facias nimis sodalem,
Gaudebis minus, at minus dolebis.

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