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The better cheeses, bring them, or else send
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
Or sporting Kyd or Marlow's mighty line. The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow And though thou had small Latin and less Greek, With all that hospitality doth know!
From thence to honour thée I will not seek Where comes no guest but is allow'd to eat
For names ; but call forth thund'ring Eschylus, Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat: Euripides, and Sophocles to us, Where the same beer, and bread, and self-same wine Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dcad, That is his lordship's shall be also mine.
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread, And I not fain to sit (as some this day
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on, At great men's tables) and yet dine away.
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show, He knows below he shall find plenty of meat;
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. Thy tables board not up for the next day,
He was not of an age, but for all time! Xor, when I take my lodging, need I pray
And all the Muses still were in their prime, For fire, or lights, or livery; all is there,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be, The just reward of her high housewifery ;
His art doth give the fashion ; and, that he To hare her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat When she was far; and not a room but drest
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat . As if it had expected such a guest!
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
| Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn ; His children *
For a good poet's made as well as born. * have been taught religion ; thence And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face Their gentler spirits have suck'd innocence.
Lives in his issue, even so the race Each morn and even they are taught to pray,
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines With the whole household, and may, every day, In his well turned and true filed lines : Read, in their virtuous parents' noble parts,
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.
To see thee in our water yet appear,
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere To the Memory of my beloved Master, William Shak
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage, speare, and what he hath left us.
| Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage, To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Which since thy flight from hence hath mourned like Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
night, While I confess thy writings to be such
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light !
On the Portrait of Shakspeare.
(Under the frontispiece to the first edition of his works : 1623.] Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
This figure that thou here seest put, Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut, The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance ;
Wherein the graver had a strife Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
With nature, to outdo the life : And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
() could he but have drawn his wit, But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
As well in brass, as he hath hit Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
His face; the print would then surpass ; I therefore will begin : Soul of the age !
All that was ever writ in brass : The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage !
But since he cannot, reader, look , My Shakspeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
Not on his picture but his book.*
* This attestation of Ben Jonson to the first engraved por '; Thou art a monument without a tomb,
trait of Shakspeare, seems to prove its fidelity as a likeness. And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
The portrait corresponds with the monumental effigy at Strat. And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
ford, but both represent a heavy and somewhat inelegant * This alludes to one of the most celebrated of the old Enelse ton.' Jovialities like these seem more like those of ballads. It was the favourite performance of the English to
the jolly Friar of Copmanhurst than the acts da
Protestant bishop, but Corbet had higher qualities; RICHARD CORBET.
his toleration, solid sense, and lively talents, proRICHARD CORBET (1582-1635) was the son of a cured him deserved esteem and respect. His pares
vho, though only a gardener, must have pos- were first collected and published in 1647. The sessed superior qualities, as he obtained the hearty are of a miscellaneous character, the best know commendations, in verse, of Ben Jonson. The son being a Journey into France, written in a light easy was educated at Westminster and Oxford, and hav- strain of descriptive humour. The Farewell to the ing taken orders, he became successively bishop of Fairies is equally lively, and more poetical. Oxford and bishop of Norwich. The social quali
[To Vincent Corbet, his Son.]
[Journey to France.)
Nor yet to ride nor fence:
But I to Paris rode along,
Upon a holy tide.
I on an ambling nag did get,
(I trust he is not paid for yet),
And spurr'd him on cach side. ties of witty Bishop Corbet, and his never-failing vivacity, joined to a moderate share of dislike to And to Saint Dennis fast we came, the Puritans, recommended him to the patronage of
To see the sights of Notre Dame, King James, by whom he was raised to the mitre.
(The man that shows them snuffles), His habits were rather too convivial for the dignity
Where who is apt for to believe, of his office, if we may credit some of the anecdotes
May see our Lady's right-arm sleere, which have been related of him. Meeting a ballad
And eke her old pantofles ; singer one market-day at Abingdon, and the man Her breast, her milk, her very gown complaining that he could get no custom, the jolly
That she did wear in Bethlehem town, doctor put off his gown, and arrayed himself in the
When in the inn she lay. leathern jacket of the itinerant vocalist, and being
Yet all the world knows that's a fable, a handsome man, with a clear full voice, he presently
For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable, vended the stock of ballads. One time, as he was
Upon a lock of hay. confirming, the country people pressing in to see the ceremony, Corbet exclaimed— Bear off there, There is one of the cross's nails, or I'll confirm ye with my staff. The bishop and Which, whoso sees, his bonnet Fails, his chaplain, Dr Lushington, it is said, would some
And, if he will, may kneel. times repair to the wine-cellar together, and Corbet Some say 'twas false, 'twas never so, used to put off his episcopal hood, saying, “There
Yet, feeling it, thus much I know, lies the doctor ;' then he put off his gown, saying,
It is as true as steel. • There lies the bishop;' then the toast went round, . Here's to thee, Corbet ;' Here's to thee, Lushing
strels, as lately as the reign of Charles II., and Drydeu allu figure. There is, however, a placid wood humour in the ex. | to it as to the most hacknied thing of the timepression of the features, and much sweetness in the mouth and
But Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory, lips. The upper part of the head is bald, and the lofty fore
These will appear such chits in story, head is conspicuous in both, as in the Chandos and other pic
"Twill turn all politics to jests, tures. The general resemblance we have no doubt is correct,
To be repeated like John Dory, but considerable allowance must be made for the defective state
When fiddlers sing at feasts. of English art at this period.
Rilson's Ancient Songs. p. 162
There is a lanthorn which the Jews,
It weighs my weight downright:
And then 'twas very light.
His elbow and his thumb.
And so away did come.
'Tis Europe's greatest town.
That walk it up and down.
The Place Royal doth excel :
The steeple bears the bell.
The house the Queen did build.
And there the King was killed :
The arsenal no toy.
0, 'tis a hopeful boy.*
Nor must you think it much : For he with little switch doth play, And make fine dirty pies of clay,
O never king made such !
Witness those rings and roundelays
Of theirs, which yet remain, Were footed in Queen Mary's days
On many a grassy plain ; But since of late Elizabeth,
And later, James came in, They never danc'd on any heath
As when the time hath been. By which we note the fairies
Were of the old profession, Their songs were Ave-Maries,
Their dances were procession : But now, alas ! they all are dead,
Or gone beyond the seas; Or farther for religion fled,
Or else they take their ease. A tell-tale in their company
They never could endure, And whoso kept not secretly
Their mirth, was punish'd sure ; It was a just and Christian deed,
To pinch such black and blue : O how the commonwealth doth need
Such justices as you !
Parewell to the Fairies. Farewell rewards and fairies,
Good housewives now may say, For now foul sluts in dairies
Do fare as well as they. And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than maids were wont to do, Yet who of late, for cleanliness,
Finds sixpence in her shoe?
The fairies lost command ;
But some have changed your land;
Are now grown Puritans ;
For love of your domains.
You merry were and glad,
These pretty ladies had ;
Or Cis to milking rose,
SIR JOHN BEAUMONT-DR HENRY KING. Among the numerous minor poets who flourished, or rather composed, in the reign of James, were SIR Join BEAUMONT (1582-1628) and Dr HENRY KING, bishop of Chichester (1591-1669). The former was the elder brother of the celebrated dramatist. Enjoying the family estate of Grace Dieu, in Leicestershire, Sir John dedicated part of his leisure hours to the service of the Muses. He wrote a poem on Bosworth Field in the heroic couplet, which, though generally cold and unimpassioned, exhibits correct and forcible versification. As a specimen, we subjoin Richard's animated address to his troops on the eve of the decisive battle:
My fellow soldiers ! though your swords
Sir John Beaumont wrote the heroic couplet with great ease and correctness. In a poem to the memory of Ferdinando Pulton, Esq., are the following excellent verses:
Why should vain sorrow follow him with tears,
* Louis XIII.
Whose thread exceeds the usual bounds of life,
The wind blows out, the bubble dies; And feels no stroke of any fatal knife ?
The spring entomb’d in autumn lies; The destinies enjoin their wheels to run,
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past and man forgot.
What is the existence of man's life, Than every little moment whence it springs;
But open war, or slumber'd strife; Unless employ'd in works deserving praise,
Where sickness to his sense presents Must wear out many years and live few days.
The combat of the elements; Time flows from instants, and of these each one
And never feels a perfect peace Should be esteem'd as if it were alone
Till Denth's cold hand signs his release! The shortest space, which we so lightly prize When it is coming, and before our eyes :
It is a storm-where the hot blood Let it but slide into the eternal main,
Outvies in rage the boiling flood; No realms, no worlds, can purchase it again :
And each loose passion of the mind Remembrance only makes the footsteps last,
Is like a furious gust of wind, When winged time, which fixed the prints, is past.
Which beats his bark with many a wave,
Till he casts anchor in the grave. Sir John also wrote an epitaph on his brother, the
It is a flower—which buds, and grows, dramatist, but it is inferior to the following:
And withers as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep, On my dear Son, Gervase Beaumont.
Like fits of waking before sleep;
Then shrinks into that fatal mould
Where its first being was enrollid.
Is moralis'd in age and youth;
Where all the conforts he can share, Among the angels fed with heavenly dew?
As wandering as his fancies are; We have this sign of joy, that many days,
Till in a mnist of dark decay, While on the earth his struggling spirit stays,
The dreamer vanish quite away. The name of Jesus in his mouth contains
It is a dial-- which points out His only food, his sleep, his ease from pains.
The sun-set, as it moves about; O may that sound be rooted in my mind,
And shadows out in lines of night Of which in him such strong effect I find !
The subtle stages of Time's flight; Dear Lord, receive my son, whose winning love
Till all-obscuring earth hath laid
His body in perpetual shade.
It is a weary interlude-
Which doth short joys, long woes, include ; In that frail body, which was part of me
The world the stage, the prologue tears, Remain my pledge in heaven, as sent to show
The acts vain hopes and varied fears; How to this port at every step I go.
The scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no epilogue but death, Dr Henry King, who was chaplain to James I., and did honour to the church preferment which was bestowed upon him, was best known as a religious
FRANCIS BEAUMONT. poet. His language and imagery are chaste and
FRANCIS BEAUMONT (1585-1616), whose name is refined. Of his lighter verse, the following song
most conspicuous as a dramatist, in union with that may suffice :
of Fletcher, wrote a small number of miscellaneous
pieces, which his brother published after his death Song.
Some of these youthful effusions are witty and Dry those fair, those crystal eyes,
amusing; others possess a lyrical sweetness; and Which, like growing fountains, rise,
a few are grave and moralising. The most cele To drown their banks: grief's sullen brooks
brated is the letter to Ben Jonson, which was oriWould better flow in furrow'd looks;
ginally published at the end of the play Nige Thy lovely face was never meant
Valour,' with the following title : “Mr Francis To be the shore of discontent.
Beaumont's letter to Ben Jonson, written before he
and Master Fletcher came to London, with two of Then clear those waterish stars again,
the precedent comedies then not finished, which de Which else portend a lasting rain ;
ferred their merry meetings at the Mermaid.' NotLest the clouds which settle there,
withstanding the admiration of Beaumont for · Rare Prolong my winter all the year,
Ben,' he copied Shakspeare in the style of his dramas, And thy example others make
Fletcher, however, was still more Shakspearian that In love with sorrow for thy sake.
his associate. Hazlitt says finely of the premature
death of Beaumont and his more poetical friend Sic Vita.
· The bees were said to have come and built their Like to the falling of a star,
hive in the mouth of Plato when a child; and the
fable might be transferred to the sweeter accents of Or as the flights of eagles are; Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Beaumont and Fletcher. Beaumont died at the age Or silver drops of morning dew;
of five-and-twenty [thirty). One of these writers Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
makes Bellario, the page, say to Philaster, who Or bubbles which on water stood :
threatens to take his lifeEv'n such is man, whose borrow'd light
'Tis not a life, Is straight call'd in, and paid to-night.
'Tis but a piece of childhood thrown away.
But here was youth, genius, aspiring hope, growing Scarce please you ; we want subtilty to do
Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow;
* I needs must cry
I see my days of ballading grow nigh ;
I can already riddle, and can sing
Catches, sell bargains, and I fear shall bring repine at fortune, and almost at nature, that seem
Myself to speak the hardest words I find to set so little store by their greatest favourites.
Over as oft as any with one wind, The life of poets is, or ought to be (judging of it
That takes no medicines, but thought of thee from the light it lends to ours), a golden dream, full
Makes me remember all these things to be of brightness and sweetness, lapt in Elysium ; and
The wit of our young men, fellows that show it gives one a reluctant pang to see the splendid
No part of good, yet utter all they know, vision, by which they are attended in their path of
Who, like trees of the garden, have growing souls. glory, fade like a vapour, and their sacred heads
Only strong Destiny, which all controls, laid low in ashes, before the sand of common mortals
I hope hath left a better fate in store has run out. Fletcher, too, was prematurely cut For me, thy friend, than to live ever poor. off by the plague.'*
Banish'd unto this home : Fate once again
Bring me to thee, who canst make smooth and plain [Letter to Ben Jonson.]
The way of knowledge for me ; and then I, The sun (which doth the greatest comfort bring
Who have no good but in thy company,
Protest it will my greatest comfort be, To absent friends, because the self-same thing
To acknowledge all I have to flow from thee, They know, they see, however absent) is
Ben ; when these scenes are perfect, we'll taste wine; Here, our best haymaker (forgive me this,
I'll drink thy muse's health, thou shalt quaff mine, It is our country's style) in this warm shine I lie, and dream of your full Mermaid wine. Oh, we have water mix'd with claret lees,
On the Tombs in Westminster. Drink apt to bring in drier heresies
Mortality, behold and fear, Than beer, good only for the sonnet's strain,
What a charge of flesh is here ! With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain,
Think how many royal bones So mixed, that, given to the thirstiest one,
Sleep within these heap of stones : "Twill not prove alms, unless he have the stone.
Here they lie, had realms and lands, I think, with one draught man's invention fades :
Who now want strength to stir their hands ; Two cups had quite spoil'd Homer's Iliades.
Where, from their pulpits seal'd with dust, 'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliff's wit,
They preach-in greatness is no trust.
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin : It is a potion sent us down to drink,
Here the bones of birth have cried, By special Providence, keeps us from fights,
Though gods they were, as men they died : Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knights. Here are wands, ignoble things, 'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings. A medicine to obey our magistrates :
Here's a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Here she lies, whose spotless fame
Invites a stone to learn her name;
The rigid Spartan that denied * Lectures on the Age of Elizabeth, &c., p. 227.
An epitaph to all that died,