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BENJAMIN Jonson, (or Johnson,) a poet, who, | gives a particular examination of his “ Silent Woduring life, attained a distinguished character, was man," as a model of perfection. He afterwards, the posthumous son of a clergyman in Westminster, however, seems to make large deductions from this where he was born in 1574, about a month after his commendation. “You seldom (says Dryden) find father's decease. His family was originally from him making love in any of his scenes, or endeavourScotland, whence his grandfather removed to Car- ing to move the passions ; his genius was too sullen lisle, in the reign of Henry VIII.

and saturnine to do it gracefully. Humour was his Benjaınin received his education under the learned proper sphere ; and in that he delighted most to Camden, at Westminster school ; and had made represent mechanics.” Besides his comedies, Jonson extraordinary progress in his studies, when his mo- composed two tragedies, Sejanus and Catiline, both ther, who had married a bricklayer for her second formed upon ancient models, and full of tranghusband, took him away to work under his step- lations; and neither of them successful. His drafather. From this humble employment he escaped, matic compositions, however, do not come within by enlisting as a soldier in the army, then serving in the scope of the present publication. the Netherlands against the Spaniards. An exploit In 1616, he published a folio volume of his works, which he here performed, of killing an enemy in which procured for him a grant from his majesty of single combat, gave him room to boast ever after of the salary of poet-laureat for life, though he did not a degree of courage which has not often been found take possession of the post till three years after. in alliance with poetical distinction.

With high intellectual endowments, he had many On his return, Jonson entered himself at St. unamiable traits in his character, having a high deJohn's College, Cambridge, which he was shortly gree of pride and self-conceit, with a disposition to obliged to quit from the scanty state of his finances. abuse and disparage every one who incurred his He then turned his thoughts to the stage, and jealousy or displeasure. Jonson was reduced applied for employment at the theatres ; but his to necessitous circumstances in the latter part of talents, as an actor, could only procure for him his life, though he obtained from Charles I. an adadinission at an obscure playhouse in the suburbs. vance of his salary as laureat. He died in 1637, at Here he had the misfortune to kill a fellow-actor the age of 63, being at that time considered as at the in a duel, for which he was thrown into prison. head of English poetry. He was interred in WestThe state of mind to which he was here brought, minster Abbey, where an inscription was placed over gave the advantage to a Popish priest in converting his grave, familiarly expressive of the reputation him to the Catholic faith, under which religion he he had acquired among his countrymen : it was, continued for twelve years.

“ O rare Ben Jonson." Six months after his death, After his liberation from prison, he married, and a collection of poems to his honour, by a number applied in earnest to writing for the stage, in which of the most eminent writers and scholars in the nabe appears to have already made several attempts. tion, was published, with the title of “ Jonsonius His comedy of “ Every Man in his Humour," the Virbius; or the memory of Ben Jonson, revived by first of his acknowledged pieces, was performed with the Friends of the Muses." applause in 1596; and henceforth he continued to Although, as a general poet, Jonson for the most furnish a play yearly, till his time was occupied by part merits the character of harsh, frigid, and tedious; the composition of the masques and other enter there are, however, some strains in which he appears tainments, by which the accession of James was with singular elegance, and may be placed in comcelebrated. Dryden, in his Essay on Dramatic petition with some of the most favoured writers of Poetry, speaks of him as the “ most learned and that class. judicious writer which any theatre ever had," and

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2. I have been gathering wolves' hairs,

The mad-dogs' foam, and the adders' ears ;
CAMDEN, most reverend head, to whom I owe The spurgings of a dead-man's eyes,
All that I am in arts, all that I know.

And all since the evening-star did rise.
(How nothing 's that!) to whom my country owes
The great renown,

and name wherewith she goes. 3. I, last night, lay all alone
Than thee the age sees not that thing more grave, O'the ground, to hear the mandrake groan ;
More high, more holy, that she more would crave. And pluck'd him up, though he grew full low;
What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in And, as I had done, the cock did crow.

What sight in searching the most antique springs ! 4. And I ha' been choosing out this skull,
What weight, and what authority in thy speech ! From charnel-houses, that were full;
Man scarce can make that doubt, but thou canst From private grots, and public pits,

And frighted a sexton out of his wits.
Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty,
Which conquers all, be once o'er-come by thee. 5. Under a cradle I did creep,
Many of thine this better could, than I,

By day; and, when the child was asleep,
But for their powers, accept my piety.

At night, I suck'd the breath; and rose,
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose.

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Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powdered, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presum'd,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely fowing, hair as free :
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art ;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Yes, I have brought (to help our vows)
Horned poppy, cypress' boughs,
The fig-tree wild, that grows on tombs,
And juice, that from the larch-tree comes,
The basilisk's blood, and the viper's skin :
And, now, our orgies let 's begin.





1. I have been, all day, looking after
A raven, feeding upon a quarter ;
And, soon as she turn'd her beak to the south,
I snatch'd this morsel out of her mouth.

UNDERNEATH this marble herse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother;
Death, ere thou hast slain another,
Learn'd, and fair, and good as she,
Time shall throw his dart at thee.


Thus, thus, begin the yearly rites
Are due to Pan on these bright nights;
His morn now riseth, and invites
To sports, to dances, and delights :

Al envious, and prophane away,
This is the shepherd's holiday.

ON LUCY COUNTESS OF BEDFORD. This morning, timely rapt with holy fire,

I thought to form unto my zealous Muse, What kind of creature I could most desire,

To honour, serve, and love; as poets use. I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise,

Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great; I meant the day-star should not brighter rise,

Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat. I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,

Hating that solemn vice of greatness, pride; I meant each softest virtue there should meet,

Fit in that softer bosom to reside. Only a learned, and a manly soul

I purpos'd her ; that should, with even pow'rs, The rock, the spindle, and the sheers controul

Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours. Such when I meant to feign, and wish'd to see,

My Muse bade, Bedford write, and that was shc.


Strew, strew, the glad and smiling ground,
With every flower, yet not confound
The primrose drop, the spring's own spouse,
Bright daisies, and the lips of cows,
The garden-star, the queen


May, The rose, to crown the holiday.


Drop, drop you violets, change your hues,
Now red, now pale, as lovers use,
And in your death go out as well
As when you lived unto the smell :

That from your odour all may say,
This is the shepherd's holiday.







Kiss me, sweet: the wary lover
Can your favours keep, and cover,
When the common courting jay
All your bounties will betray.
Kiss again: no creature comes.
Kiss, and score up wealthy sums
On my lips, thus hardly sund'red,
While you breathe. First give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the tother
Add a thousand, and so more:
Till you equal with the store,
All the grass that Romney yields,
Or the sands in Chelsea fields,
Or the drops in silver Thames,
Or the stars, that gild his streams,
In the silent summer nights,
When youths ply their stol'n delights.
That the curious may not know
How to tell 'em as they flow,
And the envious, when they find
What their number is, be pin’d.

BEAUTIES, have ye seen this toy,
Called Love, a little boy,
Almost naked, wanton, blind,
Cruel now; and then as kind ?
If he be amongst ye, say ;
He is Venus' run-away.


She, that will but now discover
Where the winged wag doth hover,
Shall, to-night, receive a kiss,
How, or where herself would wish :
But, who brings him to his mother,
Shall have that kiss, and another.



He hath of marks about him plenty :
You shall know him among twenty.
All his body is a fire,
And his breath a flame entire,
That being shot, like lightning, in,
Wounds the heart, but not the skin.


Drixx to me only with thine eyes,

And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,

And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst, that from the soul doth rise,

Doth ask a drink divine :
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,

I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, tate, a rosy wreath,

Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there

It could not withered be.
But thou thereon did'st only breathe,

And sent'st it back to me:
Since when, it grows, and smells, I swear,

Not of itself, but thee.

At his sight, the Sun hath turned,
Neptune in the waters, burned ;
Hell hath felt a greater heat :
Jove himself forsook his seat :
From the centre, to the sky,
Are his trophies reared high.

SECOND GRACE. Wings he hath, which though ye clip, He will leap from lip to lip, .

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