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That both for wit and sense so oft dost pluck, And never art encountered, I confess;

Nor scarce dost color for it, which is less. Prithee, yet save thy rest; give o'er in time: There's no vexation that can make thee prime.91


So Phoebus make me worthy of his bays,
As but to speak thee, Overbury, 's praise:

So where thou liv'st, thou mak'st life under


Where, what makes others great, doth keep thee


I think, the fate of court thy coming craved,
That the wit there and manners might be saved.
For since, what ignorance, what pride is fled,
And letters and humanity in the stead!
Repent thee not of thy fair precedent,
Could make such men and such a place repent;
Nor may' any fear to lose of their degree,
Who 'n such ambition can but follow thee.

91 This word "prime" is a key to the figure that runs through the whole piece. Jonson compares the driveller who hunts and imitates him at every turn to a shallow player at primero, who closely follows the shifts of his antagonist, without possessing either the advantage in his cards, or a sufficient knowledge of the game, to enable him to secure the victory. - B.

92 The date of this epigram may be referred, as Gifford suggests, to the return of Sir Thomas Overbury from his travels.-B.



I must believe some miracles still be,
Where Sidney's name I hear, or face I see:
For Cupid, who at first took vain delight
In mere out-forms, until he lost his sight,
Hath changed his soul, and made his object you;
Where, finding so much beauty met with virtùe,
He hath not only gained himself his eyes,
But, in your love, made all his servants wise.


You wonder who this is, and why I name
Him not aloud, that boasts so good a fame:
Naming so many too! But this is one
Suffers no name, but a description;

Being no vicious person, but the Vice 94
About the town; and known, too, at that price.
A subtle thing that doth affections win
By speaking well o' the company it's in;
Talks loud and bawdy, has a gathered deal
Of news and noise, to sow out a long meal;
Can come from Tripoli, leap stools, and wink,


98 Daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, and wife of Sir Philip Sidney. -- B.

94 A character in Moralities.

95 "To come from Tripoli " was a current phrase, signifying that the person to whom it was applied could perform feats of strength and agility in the manner of the Moors. Jonson uses it elsewhere:

"I protest, Sir John, you came on high from Tripoli, as I

Do all that 'longs to th' anarchy of drink,
Except the duel; can sing songs and catches;
Give every one his dose of mirth; and watches
Whose name's unwelcome to the present ear,
And him it lays on-if he be not there;
Tells of him all the tales itself then makes;
But if it shall be questioned, undertakes
It will deny all, and forswear it too;
Not that it fears, but will not have to do
With such a one, and therein keeps its word;
"Twill see its sister naked, ere a sword;
At every meal, where it doth dine or sup,
The cloth's no sooner gone, but it gets up
And, shifting of its faces, doth play more
Parts than th' Italian could do with his door;
Acts old Iniquity" and, in the fit

Of miming, gets th' opinion of a wit;
Executes men in picture; by defect,
From friendship, is its own fame's architect;
An engineer in slanders of all fashions,
That, seeming praises, are yet accusations.


do every whit; and lift as many joined stools, and leap over 'em, if you would use it."- The Silent Woman, V. i.

Thus also Fletcher :

"Get up to the window there, and presently,

Like a most complete gentleman, come from Tripoli.”

Monsieur Thomas, IV. 2.-B.

96 An Italian well known for his skill in such feats; possibly, as suggested by Whalley, the person alluded to under the name of Scoto in King James's Dæmonology.-B.

97 The Vice of old Moralities.-B.

Described, it's thus: defined would you it have? Then, "the town's honest man's" her arrant'st knave.


Jephson, thou man of men, to whose loved name
All gentry yet owe part of their best flame! 99
So did thy virtue' inform, thy wit sustain
That age, when thou stood'st up the master-


Thou wert the first mad'st merit know her


And those that lacked it, to suspect, at length,
'Twas not entailed on title; that some word
Might be found out as good, and not "my Lord";
That nature no such difference had impressed
In men, but every bravest was the best;

That blood not minds, but minds did blood adorn;
And to live great was better than great born.
These were thy knowing arts; which who doth


Virtuously practise, must at least allow

Them in, if not from thee, or must commit
A desperate solecism in truth and wit.

98 The name of this gentleman, who seems to have achieved distinction in his own day by the force of his merits, does not appear elsewhere among the contemporaries of Jonson. --B. It was probably the same as Sir William Jepson, who is mentioned in Nichols's Progress of James I., I. 92, as one of the entertainers of the King at Belvoir Castle.

99 Bell corrects to "fame."


Groine, come of age, his 'state sold out of hand For's whore; Groine doth still occupy his land.


Gut eats all day and lechers all the night,
So all his meat he tasteth over twice;
And, striving so to double his delight,
He makes himself a thoroughfare of vice.
Thus, in his belly can he change a sin,
Lust it comes out that gluttony went in.


Not he that flies the court for want of clothes
At hunting rails, having no gift in oaths,
Cries out 'gainst cocking, since he cannot bet,
Shuns prease, 101 for two main causes, pox and debt;
With me can merit more than that good man,
Whose dice not doing well, to' a pulpit ran.
No, Shelton, give me thee, canst want all these,
But dost it out of judgment, not disease;
Dar'st breathe in any air, and with safe skill,
Till thou canst find the best, choose the least ill;
That to the vulgar canst thyself apply,

Treading a better path, not contrary;

100 This is the person who engaged with Mr. Hayden, in the mud frolic of rowing up Fleet Ditch to Holborn, celebrated in the epigram; but I know nothing more of him. — G. 101 Press


"The king is at hand, stand close in the prease."

Damon and Pythias.-B.

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