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Through seas, storms, tempests; and, embarked

for hell,

Came back untouched. This man hath travelled

well.

CXXIX. TO MIME.

That not a pair of friends each other see,
But the first question is, When one saw thee?
That there's no journey set, or thought upon,
To Brentford, Hackney, Bow, but thou mak'st

one;

That scarce the town designeth any feast

To which thou'rt not a week bespoke a guest; That still thou'rt made the supper's flag, the drum,

The very call, to make all other come:

Think'st thou, Mime, this is great? or, that they

strive

Whose noise shall keep thy miming most alive, Whilst thou dost raise some player from the

grave,

Outdance the babion, or outboast the brave; 108
Or, mounted on a stool, thy face doth hit
On some new gesture that's imputed wit?
Oh, run not proud of this. Yet, take thy due.
Thou dost outzany Cokely, Pod, nay, Gue,"

109

108 That is, outdance the baboon or outboast the bravo. 109 Cokely, Pod, and Gue were masters of motions, or puppet-shows, and exhibitors at Bartholomew Fair. See Epigram xcvii. p. 53.

And thine own Coriat 110 too. But, wouldst thou

see,

Men love thee not for this: they laugh at thee.

111

CXXX. TO ALPHONSO FERRABOSco,' ON HIS

BOOK.

To urge, my loved Alphonso, that bold fame
Of building towns, and making wild beasts tame,
Which Music had; or speak her known effects,
That she removeth cares, sadness ejects,
Declineth anger, persuades clemency,
Doth sweeten mirth, and heighten piety,

110 Thomas Coryat, an eccentric traveller of the reign of James I. and a butt of Ben Jonson and his brother wits. In 1608 Coryat took a journey on foot through France, Italy, Germany, &c., which lasted five months, during which he had travelled 1975 miles, more than half upon one pair of shoes, which were only once mended, and on his return were hung up in the church of Odcombe in Somersetshire. He published his travels under this title: "Crudities hastily gobbled up in Five Months' Travel in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia, Helvetia, some parts of High Germany, and the Netherlands, 1611,' 4to; reprinted in 1776, 3 vols. 8vo. This work was ushered into the world by an 'Odcombian banquet' consisting of near sixty copies of verses, made by the best poets of that time, which, if they did not make Coryat pass with the world for a man of great parts and learning, contributed not a little to the sale of his book. Among these poets were Ben Jonson, Sir John Harrington, Inigo Jones (the architect), Chapman, Donne, Drayton, and others."THORNBURY'S Old and New London, I. 351.

111 The composer of the music of most of Jonson's masques, to whose merits the poet on other occasions bears the warmest testimony. - B.

And is t' a body, often, ill inclined,

No less a sov'reign cure than to the mind;
T'allege that greatest men were not ashamed,
Of old, even by her practice to be famed;

To say indeed, she were the soul of heaven,
That the eighth sphere, no less than planets seven,
Moved by her order, and the ninth more high,
Including all, were thence called harmony:
I yet had uttered nothing on thy part,
When these were but the praises of the Art.
But when I've said the proofs of all these be
Shed in thy songs, 'tis true, but short of thee.

CXXXI. TO THE SAME.

When we do give, Alphonso, to the light
A work of ours, we part with our own right;
For then all mouths will judge, and their own

way:

The learn'd have no more privilege than the lay.
And though we could all men, all censures hear,
We ought not give them taste we had an ear.
For if the hum'rous world will talk at large,
They should be fools, for me, at their own charge.
Say this or that man they to thee prefer;

Even those for whom they do this, know they err;
And would, being asked the truth, ashamed say,
They were not to be named on the same day.
Then stand unto thyself, not seek without
For fame, with breath soon kindled, soon blown
out.

112

CXXXII. TO MR. JOSHUA SYLVESTER.'

If to admire were to commend, my praise

Might then both thee, thy work and merit raise:
But, as it is, (the child of ignorance,

And utter stranger to all air of France,)
How can I speak of thy great pains, but err?
Since they can only judge, that can confer.
Behold! the reverend shade of Bartas stands
Before my thought, and, in thy right, commands
That to the world I publish, for him, this:
"Bartas doth wish thy English now were his."
So well in that are his inventions wrought,
As his will now be the translation thought,
Thine the original; and France shall boast
No more, those maiden glories she hath lost.

112 The translator of Bartas [on the Creation]. Few productions of that age obtained more popularity, and deserved it less, than this eccentric translation. Vicars called Sylvester the "best of poets," and Dryden, in his boyhood, thought Spenser mean in comparison. Jonson, who was one of Sylvester's intimate friends, and by some said to have been his relative, here assigns to his translation the merit of an original; but it is proper to add that he afterwards recanted this panegyric, declaring that when he wrote it he was not sufficiently acquainted with French to be able to judge adequately of the translation, which he considered "not well done." Of Bartas himself he thought very indifferently, saying that he was "not a poet, but a verser." Sylvester was born in 1563, and died in Holland in 1618. There is little more known of him, except that he was singularly neglected by the age that esteemed him so highly, and that he passed the greater part of his life in a struggle with poverty, which finally drove him into exile to escape a jail at home.-B.

CXXXIII. ON THE FAMOUS VOYAGE. 113

No more let Greece her bolder fables tell
Of Hercules, or Theseus going to hell,
Orpheus, Ulysses; or the Latin Muse,

With tales of Troy's just knight, our faiths abuse;
We have a Shelton, and a Heyden got,

Had power to act, what they to feign had not.
All that they boast of Styx, of Acheron,
Cocytus, Phlegethon, ours have proved in one;
The filth, stench, noise: save only what was there
Subtly distinguished, was confused here.
Their wherry had no sail, too; ours had none:
And in it, two more horrid knaves than Charon.
Arses were heard to croak instead of frogs;
And for one Cerberus, the whole coast was dogs.
Furies there wanted not; each scold was ten.
And for the cries of ghosts, women and men,
Laden with plague-sores and their sins, were
heard,

Lashed by their consciences, to die, afeard.
Then let the former age with this content her,
She brought the poets forth, but ours th' adventer.

113 Of this "voyage". . . . I shall only say that more humor and poetry are wasted on it than it deserves. As a picture of a populous part of London, it is not without some interest, and might admit of a few remarks; but I dislike the subject, and shall therefore leave the reader, who will not follow my example, and pass lightly over it, to the annotations of Whalley.-G. The present editor is quite willing to walk off with Gifford, and doubts not that readers of Jonson to-day will likewise. Whalley's notes are reproduced by Bell.

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