« PreviousContinue »
The jewels she, and the foil they,
She hath a way,
Anne Hathaway ; To shame bright gems, Anne hath a way.
To nature, the best judge of what was fit; | The deepest, plainest, highest, clearest pen; The voice most echoed by consenting men ; The soul which answered best to all well said By others, and which most requital made ; Tuned to the highest key of ancient Rome, Returning all her music with his own ; In whom, with nature, study claimed a part, And yet who to himself owed all his art : | Here lies Ben Jonson ! every age will look With sorrow here, with wonder on his book.
But were it to my fancy given
She hath a way,
Anne Hathaway ;
ODE TO BEN JONSON.
UNDER THE PORTRAIT OF JOHN MILTON
PREFIXED TO "PARADISE LOST."
Au Ben !
Made at the Sun,
And yet each verse of thine
THREE Poets, in three distant ages born,
Or send to us
But teach us yet
That precious stock, the store
MILTON ! thou shouldst be living at this hour :
PRAYER TO BEN JONSON.
When I a verse shall make, Know I have prayed thee, For old religion's sake, Saint Ben, to aid me.
Make the way smooth for me, When I, thy Herrick, Honoring thee, on my knee Offer my lyric.
TO THE MEMORY OF BEN JONSON.
The Muse's fairest light in no dark time,
wit, — • This poem has sometimes, but surely without much reason, been attributed to Shakespeare.
Candles I 'll give to thee,
VENUS (loquitur). Paris, Anchises, and Adonis — GEORGE VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. 1682.
three, Three only, did me ever naked see ;
SOME of their chiefs were princes of the land ; But this Praxiteles -- when, where, did he ?
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand ;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But, in the course of one revolving moon, A SWEET, attractive kind of grace,
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; A full assurance given by looks,
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Continual comfort in a face,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. The lineaments of Gospel books !
Blest madman, who could every hour employ, I trow, that countenance cannot lie With something new to wish or to enjoy! Whose thoughts are legible in the eye. Railing and praising were his usual themes ;
And both, to show his judgment, in extrenies : Was ever eye did see that face,
So over-violent or over-civil, Was ever ear did hear that tongue,
That every man with him was god or devil. Was ever mind did mind his grace,
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art; That ever thought the travel long?
Nothing went unrewarded but desert.
Beggared by fools, whom still he found too late;
He had his jest, and they had his estate.
He laughed himself from court, then sought relief
For, spite of him, the weight of business fell EPITAPH ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.
On Absalom, and wise Achitophel. UNDERNEATH this marble hearse
Thus, wicked but in will, of means bereft, Lies the subject of all verse,
He left no faction, but of that was left.
JOHN DRYDEN. Sydney's sister, - Pembroke's mother. Death, ere thou hast slain another Fair and wise and good as she, Time shall throw a dart at thee !
CHARLES XII. Marble piles let no man raise
On what foundations stands the warrior's pride, To her name in after days;
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide : Some kind woman, born as she,
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire, Reading this, like Niobe
| No dangers fright him, and no labors tire; Shall turn marble, and become
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain, Both her mourner and her tomb.
| Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain. BEN JONSON. No joys to him pacific scepters yield,
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field; Swift and resistless through the land he past, Behold surrounding kings their power conubine, Like that bold Greek who did the East subdue, And one capitulate, and one resign;
And made to battles such heroic haste, Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in As if on wings of victory he flew.
vain ; " Think nothing gained,” he cries, “till naught He fought, secure of fortune as of fame : remain,
Still, by new maps, the island inight be shown, On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly, Of conquests, which he strewed where'er he came, And all be mine beneath the polar sky.”
Thick as the galaxy with stars is sown. The march begins in military state, And nations on his eye suspended wait ; Nor was he like those stars which only shine, Stern famine guards the solitary coast,
When to pale mariners they storms portend : And winter barricades the realms of frost. He had his calmer influence, and his mien He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay; Did love and majesty together blend. Hide, blushing glory, hide Pultowa's day! The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,
| 'T is true, his countenance did imprint an awe; And shows his miseries in distant lands ;
And naturally all souls to his did bow, Condemned a needy supplicant to wait,
As wands of divination downward draw, While ladies interpose and slaves debate.
And point to beds where sovereign gold doth But did not chance at length her error mend ?
grow. Did no subverted empire mark his end ? Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound,
For from all tempers he could service draw; Or hostile millions press him to the ground ?
The worth of each, with its alloy, he knew; His fall was destined to a barren strand
And, as the confidant of Nature, saw A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
How she complexions did divide and brew.
By intuition, in his own large breast,
That were the rule and measure to the rest.
Such was our prince ; yet owned a soul above
The highest acts it could produce to show : How shall I then begin, or where conclude,
Thus poor mechanic arts in public move, To draw a fame so truly circular ?
Whilst the deep secrets beyond practice go. For in a round what order can be showed, Where all the parts so equal perfect are ? Nor died he when his ebbing fame went less,
But when fresh laurels courted him to live : His grandeur he derived from Heaven alone; | He seemed but to prevent some new success,
For he was great, ere fortune made him so : As if above what triumphs earth could give. And wars, like mists that rise against the sun, Made him but greater seem, not greater grow.
His latest victories still thickest came,
As, near the center, motion doth increase ;
Till he, pressed down by his own weighty name, No borrowed bays his temples did adorn,
Did, like the vestal, under spoils decease. But to our crown he did fresh jewels bring;
JOHN DRYDEN. Nor was his virtue poisoned soon as born, With the too early thoughts of being king.
TO THE LORD-GENERAL CROMWELL. Fortune - that easy mistress to the young,
But to her ancient servants coy and hard — CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud, Him at that age her favorites ranked among | Not of war only, but detractions rude, When she her best-loved Pompey did discard. Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
I To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plowed ; He, private, marked the fault of others' sway And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
And set as sea-marks for himself to shun: Hast reared God's trophies, and his work purNot like rash monarchs, who their youth betray sued, By acts their age too late would wish undone. While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots im
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, A monstrous mass of foul, corrupted matter, And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much re- As all the devils had spewed to make the batter. mains
| The midwife laid her hand on his thick skull, To conquer still; Peace hath her victories With this prophetic blessing, -"Be thou dull;
No less renowned than War : new foes arise, Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains : Fit for thy bulk ; do anything but write :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men ; Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw. A strong nativity - but for the pen !
MILTON. Eat opium, mingle arsenic in thy drink,
Still thou mayst live, avoiding pen and ink.”
For treason botched in rhyme will be thy bane;
Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck, FROM THE "PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES."
”T is fatal to thy fame and to thy neck ;
Why should thy meter good King David blast ? LET Sporus tremble. – A.* What? that thing A psalm of his will surely be thy last. of silk,
A double noose thou on thy neck dost pull Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk ? For writing treason and for writing dull. Satire of sense, alas ! can Sporus feel?
To die for faction is a common evil, Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
| But to be hanged for nonsense is the devil. P.+ Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
JOHN DRYDEN. This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings ; Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys :
SMOLLETT. So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
WHENCE could arise the mighty critic spleen, In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
The muse a trifler, and her theme so mean? Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
What had I done that angry heaven should send As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
The bitterest foe where most I wished a friend ! Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
Oft hath my tongue been wanton at this name, And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks,
And hailed the honors of thy matchless fame. Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
For me let hoary Fielding bite the ground, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
So nobler Pickle stands superbly bound ; In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
From Livy's temples tear the historic crown, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies;
Which with more justice blooms upon thy own. His wit all seesaw, between that and this,
Compared with thee, be all life-writers dumb, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
But he who wrote the life of Tommy Thumb. And he himself one vile antithesis.
Who ever read the Regicide but swore Amphibious thing! that, acting either part,
The author wrote as man ne'er wrote before ? The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Others for plots and underplots may call, Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Here's the right method, - have no plot at all ! Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
JOHN CHURCHILL. Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have exprest, A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest ; Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
ADDISON. Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
FROM THE "PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES."
OG, - SHADWELL, THE DRAMATIST.
Now stop your noses, readers, all and some,
PEACE to all such ! but were there one whose fires
Alike reserved to blame, or to commend, | Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend ;
seemed Dreading even fools, by flatterers besieged, Like stars to shepherds' eyes :- 't was but a And so obliging that he ne'er obliged ;
meteor beamed. Like Cato, give his little senate laws, And sit attentive to his own applause ;
Woe unto us, not her ; for she sleeps well : Whilst wits and templars every sentence raise, The fickle reek of popular breath, the tongue And wonder with a foolish face of praise :
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,
Its knell in princely ears, till the o'erstung
Against their blind omnipotence a weight
Within the opposing scale, which crushes soon FROM “CHILDE HAROLD."
or late, — Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
These might have been her destiny ; but no, A long, low, distant murmur of dread sound,
Our hearts deny it : and so young, so fair, Such as arises when a nation bleeds With some deep and immedicable wound;
Good without effort, great without a foe;
But now a bride and mother, - and now there! Through storm and darkness yawns the rend.
How many ties did that stern moment tear ! ing ground,
From thy sire's to his humblest subject's breast The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the chief
Is linked the electric chain of that despair, Seems royal still, though with her head dis- |
Whose shock was as an earthquake's, and opcrowned, And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief
The land which loved thee so that none could She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no
love thee best. relief.