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Then temper flew from words, and men did squeak,
Her resurrection has again with thee." Prophetic verses these ! The poet must have looked forward into the coming time, and have seen “the cirque prophaned ” where Shakspeare and where Jonson walked—as now it is.
Herrick loved “the old man eloquent.” Hear his “Prayer to Ben Jonson."
“ When I a verse shall make,
Know I have pray'd thee,
Saint Ben, to aid me!
When I, Thy HERRICK,
Offer my lyrick!
And a new altar;
Writ in my Psalter !" Doth not this smack of sweet affection-of an almost devotional love for his old master in wit, and wine, and verse ?
Jonson seems to have reigned, like his learned namesake after him, first professor of dogmatisın in the literary circle of his day. He was, however, looked up to with more of good-humoured reverence than his successor in the critical chair : indeed his contemporaries appear to have tendered a sort of filial and affectionate obedience to him, which the latter never won from any of his scared and timid worshippers : the one ruled over his literary subjects like a beneficent Bacchus, whilst the other rode over his slaves like a Vishnu, crushing and grinding them to dust with the ponderous wheels of the car wherein he sat self-enshrined.
From the following quaint letter by Howel, the celebrated epistolary writer, we learn, first, that Ben was considered a sort of literary father among the wits who looked up to him ; secondly, that Ben was a great collector of grammars, which throws a confirming light on his reputed love of the erudite and the verbal; and, thirdly, (which illustrates an unnoticed chapter in his domestic history,) that either his chimney or his house had twice nearly served him up as a burnt-offering to the domestic Lares. But to the letter : here it is :
“ To my father, Mr. Ben Jonson. “Father Ben,— Nullum fit magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiæ,' (There's no great wit without some mixture of madness,) so saith the philosepher : nor was he a fool who answered, ' Nec parvum, sine mix
tura stultitiæ (Nor small wit without some alloy of foolishness). Touching the first, it is verified in you, for I find that you have been oftentimes mad. You were mad when you writ your · Fox;' and madder when you writ your ' Alchymist;' you were mad when you first writ. Catiline,' and stark mad when you writ. Sejanus ;' but when you writ your • Epigrams,' and the • Magnetic Lady, you were not so mad : insomuch that I perceive there be degrees of madness in you. Excuse me that I am so free with you. The madness I mean, is that divine fury, that heating and heightening spirit which Ovid speaks of : * Est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo:' that true enthusiasm which transports and elevates the souls of poets above the middle region of vulgar conceptions, and makes them soar up to heaven, to touch the stars with their laureled heads, to walk in the zodiac with Apollo himself, and command Mercury upon their errands.
“ I cannot yet light upon Dr. Davies his Welsh Grammar: before Christmas I am promised one: so desiring you to look better hereafter to your charcoal fire and chimney, which I am glad to be one that preserved from burning, this being the second time that Vulcan hath threatened you, it may be because you have spoken ill of his wife, and been too busy with his horns, I rest
Your Son, and contiguous neighbour,
“ JAMES Howel." “ Westminster, 27th June, 1629."
In a second letter to Father Ben, Howel informs him that he has at last procured him “ Dr. Davies his Welsh Grammar," and accompanies the present to his poetical parent with some splay-footed verses, which in thought, and sometimes in the turn of the lines, show Howel to have been not unworthy such a “right merrie and conceitede ” old father-in-literature. A third letter to Ben contains a French version of the old story-of a lady eating of her lover's heart, served up at table by her jealous and revengeful husband. This frightful tragedy he recommends to Jonson "as choice and rich stuff" to put upon his “ loom, and make a web of.” In the same letter he tells him “that he had been much censured at court” for falling foul upon Sir Inigo Jones; and Aatters him when he says that he had written against the great architect“ with a porcupine's quill, dipped in gall."
It is remarkable that Howel, who names in the long series of his letters, spreading over many years, almost all the men of note and mark in that great period, never once, that I can find, alludes to Shakspeare, his correspondent's contemporary and friend-never once quotes a line from him—nor names one immortal work of his, as if he had never lived, or was unknown! Was this forgetfulness of him intended as homage of his “father Ben," or was it ignorance, and want of taste? One can hardly think it was the latter : it is, therefore, curious.
What an age must that have been in which such men as Sidney, Spenser, Bacon, Lopez de Vega, Calderon, Drayton, Shakspeare, Cervantes, Jonson, Galileo, Quevedo, Inigo Jones, John Fletcher, Beaumont, Herrick, Chapman, Ford, Harvey, the great discoverer in anatomy, Selden,“ the learned wit,” and fifty more men, almost as eminent, lived and moved upon this stage, seeing and hearing each other-watching each other's rising and setting-basking in the shine-mourning the decline! But great men make great men: great rulers make great subjects. Heaven has perhaps given us another Elizabeth: is it too much to hope that it may give us another Shakspeare, and contemporaries worthy of him ? Let
us hope !
THE ITALIAN GIRL TO HER ENGLISH LOVER.
BY THE AUTHORESS OF THE
BRIDE OF SIENA."
The early violets you gave were sweet,
And, wither'd, will endure through many a year
In after life I'll greet them with a tear.
Wing'd by thy presence-hours that would seem,
Less a reality than some sweet dream !
Of spring, of hope, and all their buoyant train,
Why turn from present bliss to coming pain ?
Co-heirs of this warm woman-heart of mine;
Sorrow, the tear-gemm'd cypress will entwine
All unforgotten, even by my side,
And gentle sighs thy long delay will chide.
And that warm fire-side you love so well !
With breaking heart her own prophetic knell!
A word would make it seem reality:
Death should immortalize my memory!
I can endure this deadly prophecy ;
When thine confirms it, dear one! I can die!
He won, he left her for an humbler flow'r;
The fair rose droop'd and perish'd in her bower.
Sweet music, from my else aye silent lute;
That loyal lyre for all but thee is mute !
The deep devotion of this heart can wake :
Lyre and heart all silently will break!
BY CAPTAIN MARRYAT, C.B.
Chap. XIII. “ Far be it from me to wish to annoy you, my son,” said Father Mathias, as with difficulty he kept pace with the rapid strides of Philip, who was now within a quarter of a mile of his home; “ but still recollect that this is but a transitory world, and that much time has elapsed since you quitted this spot. For that reason I would fain desire you, if possible, to check these bounding aspirations after happiness, these joyful anticipations in which you have indulged since we quitted the vessel. I hope and trust in the mercy of God, that all will be right, and that, in a few minutes, you will be in the arms of your much-loved wife ; but still in proportion as you allow your hopes to be raised, so will you inevitably have them crushed by disappointment. At Flushing we were told that there has been a dreadful visitation in this land, and Death may not have spared a victim so young and fair."
“Let us haste on, Father,” replied Philip. “What you say is true, and suspense becomes more dreadful.”
Philip increased his speed, leaving the old man to follow him : he arrived at the bridge and wooden gate. It was then about seven o'clock in the morning, for they had crossed the Scheldt at the dawn
Philip observed that the lower shutters were still closed : they might have been up and stirring before this,” thought he, as he put his hand to the latch of the door. It was not fastened. Philip entered : there was a light burning in the kitchen; he pushed open the door, and beheld a maid-servant leaning back in her chair in a profound sleep. Before he had time to go in and awaken her, he heard a voice at the top of the stairs, which said, “ Marie, is that the doctor ?”.
Philip waited no longer; in three bounds he was on the landingplace above, and brushing by the person who had spoken, he opened the door of Amine's room.
A floating wick in a tumbler of oil gave but a faint and glimmering light; the curtains of the bed were drawn, and by the side was kneeling a figure which was well known to Philip—that of Father Seysen. Philip recoiled, the blood retreated to his heart; he could not speak, but, panting for breath, he supported himself against the wall, and at last vented his agony of feeling by a deep groan, which aroused the priest, who turned his head, and, perceiving who it was, rose from his knees and extended his hand to Philip in silence.
“ She is dead, then !” at last exclaimed Philip.
“No, my son, not dead; but there is little hope. The crisis is at hand; in one more hour her fate will be decided, whether she be to be restored to your arms or follow the many hundreds which this fatal epidemic has consigned to the tomb."
Father Seysen then led Philip to the side of the bed and withdrew the curtain. Amine lay insensible, but breathing heavily; her eyes were closed. Philip seized her burning hand-knelt down-pressed it to his lips—and burst into a paroxysm of tears.
So soon as he was * Continued from page 504, No. cc.
more composed, Father Seysen persuaded him to rise and sit with him by the side of the bed.
“ This is a melancholy sight at your return, Philip,” said he; " and to you who are so ardent, so impetuous, it must be doubly so; but God's will be done. Remember there is yet hope,—not strong hope, I grant, but still there is hope, for so told me the medical man who has attended her, and who will return, I expect, in a few minutes. Her disease is a typhus fever, which has swept off whole families during these last two months, and still rages violently; fortunate, indeed, is the house which has to mourn but one victim. I would that you had not arrived just now, for it is a disease easily communicated. Many have fled from the country for security. To add to our misfortunes we have had a dearth of medical advice, for the physician and the patient have been swept away together.”
The door now was slowly opened, and a dark tall man in a brown cloak, with a sponge of vinegar held to his nose, entered the room. He bowed his head to Philip and the priest, and then went to the bed-side. For a minute he held his fingers to the pulse of the sufferer, then laying down her arm, he put his hand to her forehead, and covered her up with the bed-clothes. He handed to Philip the sponge of vinegar, making a sign that he should use it, and beckoned Father Seysen out of the room.
In a minute the priest returned. “I have received his directions, my son; he thinks that she may be saved. The clothes must be kept on her, and replaced if she throws them off; but everything will depend upon quiet and calm after she returns to her senses."
“ Surely we can promise her that,” replied Philip.
“ It is not the knowledge of your return, or even the sight of you, which alarms me. Joy seldom kills, even when the shock is great, but there are other causes. “ What are they, holy Father ?”
Philip, it is now thirteen days that Amine has raved, and during that period I have seldom quitted her but to perform the duties of my office to those who required it. I have been afraid to leave her, Philip, for in her ravings she has told such a tale, unconnected as it has been, that has thrilled my soul with horror. It evidently has long been heavy on her mind, and must retard her recovery, Philip Vanderdecken, you may remember that I would once have had the secret from you,—the secret which forced your mother to her tomb, and which now may send your young wife to follow her, for it is evident that she knows all. Is it not true ?”
“She does know all,” replied Philip, mournfully.
“ And she has in her delirium told all. Nay, I trust she has told more than all: but of that we will not speak now: watch her, Philip. I will return in half an hour, for by that time, the doctor tells me, the symptoms will decide whether she will return to reason, or be lost to you for ever.”
Philip whispered to the priest that he had been accompanied by Father Mathias, who was to remain as his guest, and requested him to explain the circumstances to him, and see that he was attended to, and Father Seysen then quitted the room.
Philip sat down by the bedside, and drew back the curtain.