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If any sword could save from Fates, Roe's could;
To heaven, his hath: O happy state! wherein
XXVIII. ON DON SURLY.
Don Surly, to aspire the glorious name
eminence, who died about 1570. The allusions to him in the Epigrams do not supply very satisfactory suggestions in support of this conjecture. They indicate the character of a man of pleasure, fond of literature and travelling, and in the enjoyment of an independence which enabled him to indulge his tastes. He appears to have fought two duels, and at one time to have served with the army in the Low Countries. Jonson esteemed few men so highly, and was as ardently loved in return. Sir John Roe was a prodigal liver, and Jonson related of him that he used to say when he had no more to spend he could die." It is not improbable that his extravagance finally impaired his fortune. He died of the plague in Jonson's arms, and Jonson furnished £20 for the charges of the funeral, which, however, he was afterwards repaid. Sir John Roe had some talent for verse, and once upon leaving a masque with Jonson, wrote an epistle to him, beginning "That next to plays, the court and the state are the best. God threateneth kings, kings lords, lords do us." This piece, incorrectly quoted by Drummond, who records the anecdote, is printed amongst Donne's poems, under the date of January 6, 1603. See Mr. Laing's edition of Jonson's Conversations with Drummond, printed for the Shakespeare Society. - B.
He speaks to men with a rhinocerote's nose,'
H' has tympanies of business in his face,
That's greater yet: to cry his own up neat.
Style thee a most great fool, but no great man.
XXIX. TO SIR ANNUAL TILTER.20
Tilter, the most may admire thee, though not I; And thou, right guiltless, mayst plead to it, why?
19 That is, I believe, with a nose elate, or curled up into a kind of sneer, scornfully, contemptuously. This, at least, is the meaning of the expression in Martial's lively address to his book, Lib. I. iv. — G.
20 Sir Henry Lee, Knight of the Garter, made a vow to present himself at the Tilt Yard annually, on the 27th of November, but in 1590 he surrendered his post as Annual
For thy late sharp device. I say 'tis fit
XXX. TO PERSON GUILTY.
Guilty, be wise; and though thou know'st r
Be thine, I tax, yet do not own my rhymes:
XXXI. ON BANKS THE USURER.
Banks feels no lameness of his knotty gout,
XXXII. ON SIR JOHN ROE.
What two brave perils of the private sword
What not the envy of the seas reached to,
The cold of Moscow, and fat Irish air,
His often change of clime, (though not of mind ;)
Tilter, owing to his increasing age, to the Earl of Cumberland. It is hardly likely that the reference in the epigram can be to Sir Henry Lee, and as his action gave rise to a school of Knights of the Tilt Yard, it is not certain that Cumberland is intended.
What could not work at home, in his repair,
Was his blest fate, but our hard lot to find. Which shows, wherever death doth please t
Seas, sèrenes,21 swords, shot, sickness, all are there.
XXXIII. TO THE SAME.
I'll not offend thee with a vain tear more,
XXXIV. OF DEATH.
He that fears death, or mourns it, in the just, Shows of the Resurrection little trust.
XXXV. TO KING JAMES.
Who would not be thy subject, James, t' obey A Prince that rules by example, more than sway? Whose manners draw, more than thy powers constrain,
And in this short time of thy happiest reign, Has purged thy realms, as we have now no cause Left us of fear, but first our crimes, then laws; Like aids 'gainst treasons who hath found before?
21 A blight, the damp of evening.-NARES. Jonson uses the word elsewhere:
"Some serene blast me."- Volpone, II. 6.-B.
And, than in them, how could we know God more?
First thou preserved wert our king to be,
And since, the whole land was preserved for thee.22
XXXVI. TO THE GHOST OF MARTIAL.
Martial, thou gav'st far nobler epigrams
Thou flatter'dst thine, mine cannot flattered be.
XXXVII. ON CHEVERIL THE LAWYER.
No cause, nor client fat, will Chev'ril leese,
XXXVIII. TO PERSON GUILTY.
Guilty, because. I bade you late be wise,*
You laugh when you are touched, and long before
22 This epigram was probably written in 1604 as the last allusion is to the plague, which broke out in London soon after the death of Elizabeth. The "treasons" spoken of just above are probably those of the Gowries and Sir Walter Raleigh.-G.
*See Epigram xxx. p. 19.