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BENJAMIN JONSON.

BENJAMIN Joxson, (or Johnson,) a poet, who, gives a particular examination of his "Silent Wo during lite, 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 the 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 endeavor. Scotland, 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. Humor was his Benjamin 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 transhusband, took him away to work under his step- lations; and neither of them successful. His dra. father. 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-laureate 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 Ile 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 adadmission at an obscure playhouse in the suburbs. vance of his salary as laureate. He died in 1637, 0 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 honor, by a number applied in earnest to writing for the stage, in which of the most eminent writers and scholars in the nahe appears to have already made several attempts. tion, was published, with the title of “Jonsonius His comedy of “Every Man in his Humor," 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 appoars 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 favored writers of Poetry, speaks of him as the “most learned and that class. judicious writer which any theatre ever had." and !

TO WILLIAM CAMDEN.

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 oî 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 th31!) to v hom my country owes
The great renown, and name wherewith she goes.
Than thee the age sees not that thing more grave, 3. I, last night, lay all alone
More high, more holy, that she more would crave.

O'the ground, to hear the mandrake groan; What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in And pluck'd him up, though he grew full low; things!

And, as I had done, the cock did crow.
What sight in searching the most antique springs !
What weight, and what authority in thy speech! 4. And I ha' been choosing out this skull,
Man scarce can make that doubt, but thou canst From charnel-houses, that were sull;
teach.

From private grots, and public pits,
Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty,

And frighted a sexton out of his wits.
Which conquers all, be once o'ercome by thee.
Many of thine this better could, than I,

5. Under a cradle I did creep, But for their powers, accept my piety.

By day; and, when the child was asleep,
At night, I suck'd the breath; and rose,
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose.

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DAME.

STILL to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, 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 Aowing, 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.

EPITAPH

HAGS.

ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE, SISTER TC

LIR PHILIP SIDNEY,
UNDERNEATH this marble herse
Lies the subject of all verso,
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.

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 mo.s} out of her mouth.

FROM THE SHEPHERD'S HOLIDAY.

NYMPH I.

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 :

All envious and profane, 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 honor, 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 shears control

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 she.

NYMPH II.

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 of May,
The rose, to crown the holiday.

NYMPH III.

SONG

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 odor all may say
This is the shepherd's holiday

TO CELIA

LOVE, A LITTLE BOY

FROM THE MASQUE ON LORD HADDINGTON'S MARRIAGE

FIRST GRACE.

Kiss me, sweet: the wary lover
Can your favors 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.

SECOND GRACE. 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.

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