« AnteriorContinuar »
What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in things!
What sight in searching the most antique springs!
Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty,
XV. ON COURT-WORM.
All men are worms: but this no man. In silk 'Twas brought to court first wrapt, and white as milk;
Where afterwards it grew a butterfly,
Which was a caterpillar: so 'twill die.
XVI. TO BRAIN-HARDY.
Hardy, thy brain is valiant, 'tis confest;
XVII. TO THE LEARNED CRITIC.
May others fear, fly, and traduce thy name,
XVIII. TO MY MERE ENGLISH CENSURER.
To thee my way in Epigrams seems new,
XIX. ON SIR COD THE PERFUMED.15
That Cod can get no widow, yet a knight,
18 That is, the laurel; Daphne, rather than consent to the desires of Apollo, being changed into that tree.
14 Contemporaries of Jonson; the former a writing-master at Oxford, who published a collection of epigrams called A Scourge of Folly, and the latter a compiler of old inscriptions and epitaphs which he published under the title of Funeral Monuments. - B.
15 A play on the double meaning of the last word, an evil
XX. TO THE SAME SIR COD.
Th' expense in odors is a most vain sin,
XXI. ON REFORMED GAMESTER.
Lord, how is Gamester changed! his hair close cut!
His neck fenced round with ruff! his eyes half
His clothes two fashions off, and poor! his sword Forbid his side! and nothing but the Word Quick in his lips! 16 who hath this wonder wrought?
The late ta'en bastinado. So I thought:
What several ways men to their calling have! The body's stripes, I see, the soul may save.
XXII. ON MY FIRST DAUGHTER.
Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
At six months' end she parted hence,
genius or spirit, and a stinking breath.. The name of the person to whom this epigram is addressed is borrowed from the cod, or little purse, in which civet and other perfumes were kept in the poet's day. - G.
16 The whole description strictly answers to that of the Puritans of a later date. Similar descriptions will be found in the poems of Cleveland and Butler.
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's Queen, (whose name she
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train;
Where, while that severed doth remain,
XXIII. TO JOHN DONNE."
Donne, the delight of Phoebus and each muse,
17 Of all his poetical contemporaries, Jonson appears to have held Donne's genius in the highest estimation, although he thought his Anniversary profane, and said that he deserved hanging for not "keeping of accent," and that he would perish from not being understood. "He esteemeth John Donne," records Drummond, "the first poet in the world in some things; his verses of the Lost Chain he hath by heart; and that passage of The Calm, 'That dust and feathers do not stir, all was so quiet.' He affirmeth Donne to have written all his best pieces ere he was twenty-five years old." There is no such passage in The Calm. The words are:
"In one place lay
Feathers and dust, to-day and yesterday."— B.
All which I meant to praise, and yet I would; But leave, because I cannot as I should.
XXIV. TO THE PARLIAMENT.
There's reason good that you good laws should
Men's manners ne'er were viler for
XXV. ON SIR VOLUPTUOUS BEAST.
While Beast instructs his fair and innocent wife
XXVI. ON THE SAME BEAST.
Then his chaste wife, though Beast now know
He adulters still: his thoughts lie with a whore.
XXVII. ON SIR JOHN ROE.
In place of 'scutcheons that should deck thy
Take better ornaments, my tears and verse.
18 Gifford conjectures that this gentleman was one of the four sons of Sir Thomas Roe, a London merchant of great