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of their ears and noses. They were not tried; and sayings and deeds often to the worst; oppressed when Ben was set at liberty, he gave an entertain- with fantasy, which hath ever mastered his reason well ment to his friends (Selden and Camden being of a general disease in many poets.' the number): his mother was present on this joyous This character, it must be confessed, is far from consist occasion, and she produced a paper of poison, which being a flattering one; and probably it was, unconshe said she intended to have given her son in his sciously, overcharged, owing to the recluse habits.com liquor, rather than he should submit to personal and staid demeanour of Drummond. We believe it? mutilation and disgrace, and another dose which she however, to be substantially correct. Inured to intended afterwards to have taken herself. The old hardships and to a free boisterous life in his early lady must, as Whalley remarks, have been more of days, Jonson seems to have contracted a roughness an antique Roman than a Briton. Jonson's own of manner, and habits of intemperance, which never conduct in this affair was noble and spirited. He wholly left him. Priding himself immoderately had no considerable share in the composition of the on his classical acquirements, he was apt to slight piece, and was, besides, in such favour, that he would and condemn his less learned associates ; while the not have been molested ; but this did not satisfy conflict between his limited means and his love of him,' says Gifford ; and he, therefore, with a high social pleasures, rendered him too often severe and sense of honour, voluntarily accompanied his two saturnine in his temper. Whatever he did was done friends to prison, determined to share their fate.' with labour, and hence was highly prized. His conWe cannot now ascertain what was the mighty temporaries seemed fond of mortifying his pride, and satire that moved the patriotic indignation of James; he was often at war with actors and authors. With it was doubtless softened before publication; but in the celebrated Inigo Jones, who was joined with him some copies of . Eastward Hoe'(1605), there is a pas- in the preparation of the Court Masques, Jonson sage in which the Scots are said to be dispersed over waged a long and bitter feud, in which both parties the face of the whole earth ;' and the dramatist sar- were to blame. When his better nature prevailed, castically adds, .But as for them, there are no greater and exorcised the demon of envy or spleen, Jonson friends to Englishmen and England, when they are was capable of a generous warmth of friendship, and out on't, in the world, than they are ; and for my part, of just discrimination of genius and charucter. His I would a hundred thousand of them were there literary reputation, his love of conviviauty, and his (in Virginia), for we are all one countrymen now, high colloquial powers, rendered his society much you know, and we should find ten times more com-courted, and he became the centre of a band of wits fort of them there than we do here. The offended and revellers. Sir Walter Raleigh founded a club, nationality of James must have been laid to rest by known to all posterity as the Mermaid Club, at which the subsequent adulation of Jouson in his Court Jonson, Shakspeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Masques, for he eulogised the vain and feeble mo other poets, exercised themselves with wit-combats' narch as one that would raise the glory of England more bright and genial than their wine.* One of the more than Elizabeth.* Jonson's three great comedies, favourite haunts of these bright-minded men was Volpone, or the For, Epicene, or the Silent Woman, the Falcon Tavern, near the theatre in Bankside, and the Alchemist, were his next serious labours ; Southwark, of which a sketch has been preserved. his second classical tragedy, Catiline, appeared in The latter days of Jonson were dark and painful. 1611. His fame had now reached its highest eleva- Attacks of palsy confined him to his house, and his tion; but he produced several other comedies, and a necessities compelled him to write for the stage when vast number of court entertainments, ere his star his pen had lost its vigour, and wanted the charm began sensibly to decline. In 1619, he received the of novelty. In 1630, he produced his comedy, the appointment of poet laureate, with a pension of a New Inn, which was unsuccessful on the stage. The hundred merks. The same year Jonson made a king sent him a present of £100, and raised his journey on foot to Scotland, where he had many laureate pension to the same sum per annum, adding friends. He was well received by the Scottish gentry, a yearly tierce of canary wine. Next year, however
, and was so pleased with the country, that he medi- we find Jonson, in an Epistle Mendicant, soliciting tated a poem, or drama, on the beauties of Loch- assistance from the lord-treasurer. He continued lomond. The last of his visits was made to Drum- writing to the last. Dryden has styled the latter mond of Hawthornden, with whom he lived three works of Jonson his dotages ; some are certainly weeks, and Drummond kept notes of his conversa. unworthy of him, but the Sad Shepherd, which he tion, which, in a subsequent age, were communicated left unfinished, exhibits the poetical fancy of a youth, to the world. In conclusion, Drummond entered on ful composition. He died in 1637, and was buried his journal the following character of Ben himself :- in Westminster Abbey, where a square stone, mark,
• He is a great lover and praiser of himself; a con- ing the spot where the poet's body was disposed temner and scorner of others ; given rather to lose a vertically, was long afterwards shown, inscribed friend than a jest ; jealous of every word and action only with the words, O RARE BEN Jonson ! of those about him, especially after drink, which is one of the elements in which he liveth ; a dissembler As a proof of his enthusiastic temperament, it is mentioned, of ill parts which reign in him; a bragger of some
the full cup of wine at the communion good that he wanteth; thinketh nothing well but table, in token of his reconciliation with the church of Engwhat either he himself or some of his friends and countrymen hath said or done ; he is passionately Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon and
* Many were the wit-combats betwixt Shakspcare and Ben kind and angry; careless either to gain or keep; an English man-of-war : Master Jonson, like the former, was vindictive, but, if well answered, at himself ; for any built får higher in learning : solid, but slow in his performances religion, as being versed in both ;t interpreteth best Shakspeare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, bat
lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about and take * An account of these entertainmente, as essentially con- advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and in vennected with English literature, is given at the close of this tion.'-Fuller's Worthies. Article.
Besides the Mermaid, Jonson was a great froquenter of a club + Drummond here alludes to Jonson having been at one called the Apollo, at the Old Devil Tavern, Temple Bar, for period of his life a Roman Catholic. When in prison, after which he wrote rules-Leges Conviviales—and penned a welcome killing the actor, a priest converted him to the church of Rome, over the door of the room to all those who approved of the and he continued a member of it for twelve years. At the ex- true Phæbian liquor.' Ben's rules, it must be said, discounto piration of that time, he returned to the Protestant communion. / nanced excess.
that Jonson drank ou
oppre Jonson founded a style of regular English comedy, found, it is not a pleasing reality. When the great d his res assire, well compacted, and fitted to endure, yet artist escapes entirely from his elaborate wit and
pt very attractive in its materials. His works, alto- personified humours into the region of fancy (as in 1, is far Ether, consist of about fifty dramatic pieces, but by the lyrical passages of • Cynthia," · Epicene,' and the
was, was is the greater part are masques and interludes. His whole drama of the . Sad Shepherd'), we are struck ecluse Brincipal comedies are, ‘Every Man in his Humour,' with the contrast it exhibits to his ordinary manner. We belien
He thus presents two natures; one hard, rugged, Intral
gross, and sarcastic-'a mountain belly and a rocky in his es
face,' as he described his own person—the other a rough
airy, fanciful, and graceful, as if its possessor had - which
never combated with the world and its bad passions, Emmoder
but nursed his understanding and his fancy in poetical seclusion and contemplation.
d hisia en serta
did not ed Hat This pritet
uthors ined v ques, la a both: are per
lez, riendling inter
[The Fall of Catiline.]
Had broke between two mighty sens, and either "Volpone,' the Silent Woman,' and the Alchemist.' | And whirl'd about, as when two violent tides
Flow'd into other; for so did the slaughter; His Roman tragedies may be considered literal im- Meet and not yield. The furies stood on hills, personations of classic antiquity; robust and richly Circling the place, and trembling to see men graced, yet stiff and unnatural in style and con- Do more than they ; whilst pity left the field, struction. They seem to bear about the same re-Griev'd for that side, that in so bad a cause semblance to Shakspeare's classic dramas that sculp- They knew not what a crime their valour was. ture does to actual life. The strong delineation of the sun stood still, and was, behind the cloud character is the most striking feature in Jonson's The battle made, seen sweating, to drive up comedies. The voluptuous Volpone is drawn with His frighted horse, whom still the noise drove backward : great breadth and freedom ; and generally his por. And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame, traits of eccentric characters—men in whom some Consum'd all it could reach, and then itself, peculiarity has grown to an egregious excess—are Had not the fortune of the commonwealth, ludicrous and impressive. His scenes and characters Come, Pallas-like, to every Roman thought; show the labour of the artist, but still an artist pos- Which Catiline seeing, and that now his troops sessing rich resources ; an acute and vigorous in- Cover'd the earth they 'ad fought on with their trunks, tellect ; great knowledge of life, down to its lowest Ambitious of great fame, to crown his ill, descents; wit, lofty declamation, and a power of Collected all his fury, and ran in dramatising his knowledge and observation, with (Arın'd with a glory high as his despair) singular skill and effect. His pedantry is often mis- into our battle, like a Libyan lion placed and ridiculous : when he wishes to satirise Upon his hunters, scomful of our weapons, his opponents of the drama, he lays the scene in the Careless of wounds, plucking down lives about him, court of Augustus, and makes himself speak as Till he had circled in himself with death : Horace. In one of his Roman tragedies, he prescribes Then fell he tvo, t'embrace it where it lay. for the composition of a mucus, or wash for the And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods, face! His comic theatre is a gallery of strange, Minerva holding forth Medusa's head, clever, original portraits, powerfully drawn, and One of the giant brethren felt himself skilfully disposed, but many of them repulsive in Grow marble at the killing sight; and now, expression, or so exaggerated, as to look like carica- Almost made stone, began to inquire what flint, tures or libels on humanity. We have little deep What rock, it was that crept through all his limbs; passion or winning tenderness to link the beings of And, ere he could think more, was that he fear'd: bis drama with those we love or admire, or to make So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us, us sympathise with them as with existing mortals. Became his tomb; yet did his look retain The charm of reality is generally wanting, or when some of his fierceness, and his hands still mor’d,
As if he labour'd yet to grasp the state
The magistrate, to call forth private men; With those rebellious parts.
And to appoint their day: which privilege Cato. A brave bad death!
We may not in the consul see infring'd, Had this been honest now, and for his country, By whose deep watches, and industrious care, As 'twas against it, who had e'er fall’n greater ? It is so labour'd as the commonwealth
Receive no loss, by any oblique course.
Sil. Cæsar, thy fraud is worse than violence.
Tib. Silius, mistake us not, we dare not use [Accusation and Death of Silius in the Senate House.]
The credit of the consul to thy wrong; (Silius, an honourable Roman, hated by Tiberius Cæsar, the But only do preserve his place and power, emperor, and Sejanus, is unjustly accused in the senate-house So far as it concerns the dignity by Varro, the consul. The other persons present are Domitius And honour of the state. Afer, Latiaris, and Cotta, enemies of Silius, and Arruntius and Arr. Believe him, Silius. Sabinus, his friends, with lictores and præcones, inferior offi- Cot. Why, so he may, Arruntius. cers of the senate.]
Arr. I say so.
And he may choose too. Afer. Cite Caius Silius.
Tib. By the Capitol, Prce. Caius Silius !
And all our gods, but that the dear republic, Sil. Here.
Our sacred laws, and just authority
Afer. ’Please Cæsar to give way unto his trial; Thou hast enjoy'd so freely, Caius Silius,
He shall have justice.
Afer. Would you have more!
sil. No, my well-spoken man, I would no more ; But now, if after all their loves and graces
Nor less : might I enjoy it natural, (Thy actions and their courses being discover'd), Not taught to speak unto your present ends, It shall appear to Cæsar, and this senate,
Free from thine, his, and all your unkind handling, Thou hast defil'd those glories with thy crimes- Furious enforcing, most unjust presuming, Sil. Crimes ?
Malicious, and manifold applying, Afer. Patience, Silius.
Foul wresting, and impossible construction. sil. Tell thy moil of patience
Afer. He raves, he raves,
Hadst thou not Caesar's warrant. I can see
Whose power condemns me.
Var. This betrays his spirit.
Sil. What am I? speak.
Var. An enemy to the state. Of crime so touch thee, with what impotence
sil. Because I am an enemy to thee, Wilt thou endure the matter to be search'd ?
And such corrupted ministers o' the state, Sil. I tell thee, Afer, with more scorn than fear :
That here art made a present instrument Employ your mercenary tongue and art.
To gratify it with thine own disgrace. Where's my accuser !
Sej. This to the consul is most insolent ! Var. Here.
And impious! Arr. Varro the consul.
Sil. Ay, take part. Reveal yourselves. Is he thrust in ?
Alas ! I scent not your confed'racies, Var. 'Tis I accuse thee, Silius.
Your plots, and combinations! I not know Against the majesty of Rome, and Cæsar,
Minion Sejanus hates me ; and that all I do pronounce thee here a guilty cause,
This boast of law, and law is but a form, First of beginning and occasioning,
A net of Vulcan's filing, a mere engine, Next, drawing out the war in Gallia,
To take that life by a pretext of justice, For which thou late triumph’st ; dissembling long Which you pursue in malice! I want brain, That Sacrovir to be an enciny,
Or nostril to persuade me, that your ends Only to make thy entertainment more :
And purposes are made to what they are, Whilst thou and thy wife Sosia poll'd the province : Before my answer! O, you equal gods, Wherein, with sordid base desire of gain,
Whose justice not a world of wolf-turn'd men Thou hast discredited thy actions' worth,
Shall make me to accuse, howe'er provok'd; And been a traitor to the state.
Have I for this so oft engag’d myself ? Sil. Thou liest.
Stood in the heat and fervour of a fight, Arr. I thank thee, Silius, speak so still and often. When Phorbus sooner hath forsook the day Var. If I not prove it, Cæsar, but unjustly
Than I the field, against the blue-ey'd Gauls Have call’d him into trial ; here I bind
And crisped Germans ? when our Roman eagles Myself to suffer what I claim against him ;
Have fann'd the fire with their labouring wings. And yield to have what I have spoke, confirm'd And no blow dealt, that left not death behind it I By judginent of the court, and all good men.
When I have charg'd, alone, into the troops Sil. Cæsar, I crave to have my cause deferr'd, Of curl'd Sicambrians, routed them, and came Till this man's consulship be out.
Not off, with backward ensigns of a slave, Tib. We cannot.
But forward marks, wounds on my breast and face, Nor may we grant it.
Were meant to thee, O Cæsar, and thy Rome! Sil. Why? shall he design
And have I this return ! did I for this My day of trial ? is he my accuser ?
Perform so noble and so brave defeat And inust he be my judge!
On Sacrovir? (0 Jove, let it become me Tib. It hath been usual,
To boast my deeds, when he, whom they concern, And is a right that custom hath allow'd
Shall thus forget them.)
Afer. Silius, Silius,
The coward and the valiant man must fall, These are the common customs of thy blood,
Only the cause, and manner how, discerns them : When it is high with wine, as now with rage : Which then are gladdest, when they cost us dearest. This well agrees with that intemperate vaunt Romans, if any here be in this senate, Thou lately mad'st at Agrippina's table,
Would know to mock Tiberius' tyranny, That, when all other of the troops were prone Look upon Silius, and so learn to die. [Stabs himself. To fall into rebellion, only thine
Var. O desperate act !
Arr. An honourable hand !
Arr. My thought did prompt him to it.
Fall of Sejanus
(Lore.] Tib. Is this true, Silius?
[From the New Inn.'] Sil. Save thy question, Cæsar, Thy spy of famous credit hath affirm'd it.
Lovel and Host of the New Inn. Arr. Excellent Roman!
Lov. There is no life on earth, but being in love! Sab. He doth answer stoutly.
There are no studies, no delights, no business,
But what is love! I was the laziest creature,
The most unprofitable sign of nothing, The royal dignity and state of Cæsar,
The veriest drone, and slept away my life Than to be urged with a benefit
Beyond the dormouse, till I was in love ! He cannot pay ?
And now I can out-wake the nightingale, Cot. In this, all Cæsar's fortune
Out-watch an usurer, and out-walk him too, Is made unequal to the courtesy.
Stalk like a ghost that haunted 'bout a treasure ; Lat. His means are clean destroy'd that should re- And all that fancied treasure, it is love ! quite.
Host. But is your name Love-ill, sir, or Love-well ? Gal. Nothing is great enough for Silius' merit. I would know that. Arr. Gallus on that side too?
Lov. I do not know't myself, Sil. Come, do not hunt
Whether it is. But it is love hath been
The hereditary passion of our house,
The truth is, I have lor'd this lady long,
Host. How then ? With doubtful princes, turn deep injuries
Lor. I have sent her toys, verses, and anagrams, In estimation, when they greater rise
Trials of wit, mere trifles, she has commended, Than can be answer'd. Benefits, with you,
But knew not whence they came, nor could she guess. Are of no longer pleasure than you can
Host. This was a pretty riddling way of wooing! With ease restore them; that transcended once, Lov. I oft have been, too, in her company, Your studies are not how to thank, but kill.
And look'd upon her a whole day, adınir'd her, It is your nature to have all men slaves
Lov'd her, and did not tell her so ; lov'd still, Το but you acknowledging to none.
Look'd still, and lov'd; and lor'd, and look'd, and
But, as a man neglected, I came off,
Host. Could you blame her, sir,
Lov. O, but I lov'd the more ; and she might read it Var. Note but his spirit.
Best in my silence, had she beenAfer. This shows him in the rest.
Host. As melancholic Bj. He hath spoke enough to prove him Cæsar's foe. As you are. Pray you, why would you stand mute, sir? Lat. Let him be censur'd.
Lov. Othereon hangs a history, mine host. Cot. His thoughts look through his words.
Did you e'er know or hear of the Lord Beaufort, Sej. A censure.
Who serv'd so bravely in France ? I was his page,
And, ere he died, his friend : I follow'd him Stay, most officious senate, I shall straight
First in the wars, and in the times of peace
I waited on his studies; which were right.
No Knights of the Sun, nor Amadis de Gauls,
Primalions, and Pantagruels, public nothings ;
Sent out to poison courts, and infest manners :
But great Achilles', Agamemnon's acts,
Tydides' fortitude, as Homer wrought them
In his immortal fancy, for examples And can look down upon : they are beneath me. Of the heroic virtue. Or, as Virgil, It is not life whereof i stand enamour'd ;
That master of the Epic poem, limn'd Nor shall my end make me accuse my fate.
Pious Æneas, his religious prince,
Bearing his aged parent on his shoulders,
this book. O eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught Rapt from the flames of Troy, with his young son. with tears!' There's a conceit !- fountains fraught And these he brought to practice and to use.
with tears ! 'O life, no life, but lively form of death!' He gave me first my breeding, I acknowledge, Another ! 'O world, no world, but mass of public Then shower'd his bounties on me, like the Hours, wrongs ! A third ! Confused and filld with murder That open-handed sit upon the clouds,
and misdeeds!' A fourth ! O, the muses! Is't not And press the liberality of heaven
excellent ? Is't not simply the best that ever you Down to the laps of thankful men ! But then, heard, captain! Ha ! how do you like it? The trust committed to me at his death
Bob. "I'is good. Was above all, and left so strong a tie
Mat. “To thee, the purest object to my sense, On all my powers, as time shall not dissolve,
The most refined essence heaven covers, Till it dissolve itself, and bury all :
Send I these lines, wherein I do commence The care of his brave heir and only son !
The happy state of turtle-billing lovers. Who being a virtuous, sweet, young, hopeful lord, If they prove rough, unpolish'd, barsh, and rude, Hath cast his first affections on this lady.
Haste made the waste. Thus mildly I conclude.' And though I know, and may presume her such, Bob. Nay, proceed, proceed. Where's this ! As out of humour, will return no love,
(Bobadil is making him ready all this while. And therefore might indifferently be made
Mat. This, sir? a toy o' mine own, in my nonage ; The courting-stock for all to practise on,
the infancy of my muses ! But when will you come As she doth practise on us all to scorn :
and see my study! Good faith, I can show you some Yet out of a religion to my charge,
very good things I have done of late. That boot beAnd debt profess'd, I have made
a self-decree, comes your leg passing well, captain, methinks. Ne'er to express my person, though my passion
Bob. So, so ; it's the fashion gentlemen now use. Burn me to cinders.
Mat. Troth, captain, and now you speak o' the fashion, Master Well-bred's elder brother and I are
fallen out exceedingly. This other day, I happened (A Simpleton and a Braggadocio.]
to enter into some discourse of a hanger, which, I
assure you, both for fashion and workinanship, was (Bobadil, the braggadocio, in his mean and obscure lodging, most peremptory-beautiful and gentleman-like ; yet is visited by Matthew, the simpleton.)
he condemned and cried it down for the most pyed Mat. Save you, sir ; save you, captain.
and ridiculous that ever he saw. Bob. Gentle master Matthew ! Is it you, sir ?
Bob. Squire Downright, the half-brother, was't not ! Please you to sit down.
Mat. Ay, sir, he. Mat. Thank you, good captain, you may see I am
Bob. Hang him, rook, he! why, he has no more somewhat audacious.
judgment than a malt-horse. By St George, I wonBob. Not so, sir. I was requested to supper last der you'd lose a thought upon such an animal ; the night by a sort of gallants, where you were wish'd for, most peremptory absurd clown of Christendom, this and drunk to, I assure you.
day, he is holden. I protest to you, as I am a gentleMat. Vouchsafe me, by whom, good captain ?
man and a soldier, I ne'er changed words with his Bob. Marry, by young Well-bred, and others. Why, like. By his discourse, he should eat nothing but hostess, a stool here for this gentleman.
hay: he was born for the manger, pannier, or packMat. No haste, sir; 'tis very well.
saddle! He has not so much as a good phrase in his Bob. Body o' me !--it was so late ere we parted last belly, but all old iron and rusty proverbs !-a good night, I can scarce open my eyes yet ; I was but new
commodity for some smith to make hob-nails of. risen, as you came: how passes the day abroad, sir : manhood still, where he comes : he brags he will gi'
Mat. Ay, and he thinks to carry it away with his me, you have an exceeding fine lodging here, very that word, trow? Mat. Faith, some half hour to seven : now, trust me the bastinado, as I hear.
Bob. How ? he the bastinado? How came he by neat and private ! Bob. Ay, sir ; sit down, I pray you. Mr Matthew
Mat. Nay, indeed, he said cudgel me; I term'u it (in any case) possess no gentlemen of our acquaint- so for my more grace. ance with notice of my lodging.
Bob. That may be, for I was sure it was none of his Mat. Who ! I, sir ?-no.
word : but when? when said he so ! Bob. Not that I need to care who know it, for the
Mat. Faith, yesterday, they say ; a young gallant, cabin is convenient, but in regard I would not be too a friend of mine, told me so. popular, and generally visited as some are.
Bob. By the foot of Pharaoh, an 'twere my case Mat. True, captain, I conceive you.
now, I should send him a chartel presently. The basBob. For, do you see, sir, by the heart of valour in tinado! A most proper and sufficient dependance, me (except it be to some peculiar and choice spirits, warranted by the great Caranza. Come hither ; you to whom I am extraordinarily engaged, as yourself, shall chartel him ; I'll show you a trick or two, you or so), I could not extend thus far.
shall kill him with at pleasure ; the first stoccata, if Mat. O Lord, sir, I resolve so.
you will, by this air. Bob. I confess I love a cleanly and quiet privacy,
Mat. Indeed ; you have absolute knowledge i' the above all the tumult and roar of fortune. What new mystery, I have heard, sir book ha' you there? What ! Go by, Hieronymo !!
Bob. of whom Hof whom ha' you heard it, I be. Mat. Ay, did you erer see it acted! Is't not well seech you !
Mat. Troth I have heard it spoken of divers, that penn'd ?
Bob. Well-penn'd! I would fain see all the poets you have very rare, and un-in-one-breath-utter-able of these times pen such another play as that was ! skill, sir. they'll prate and swagger, and keep a stir of art and
Bob. By hear'n, no not 1; no skill i' the earth; devices, when (as I am a gentleman), read 'em, they some small rudiments i' the science, as to know my are the most shallow, pitiful, barren fellows, that live time, distance, or so: I have profest it more for noble upon the face of the earth again.
men and gentlemen's use than mine own practice, I Mat. Indeed ; here are a number of fine speeches in assure you. Hostess, accommodate us with another
bed-stait biere quickly: lend us another bed-staff: the 1 A cant phrase of the day. woman does not understand the words of action. Look
you can tell.