Изображения страниц

Teach me thy love to know;
That this new light which now I see
May both the work and workman show ;
Then by a sunbeam I will climb to thee.


Ben Jonson was born A.D. 1571. At an early age he served as a volunteer in Flanders, and highly distinguished himself; especially on one occasion, when he engaged with an enemy in single combat, and slew him, in the presence of both armies. Another instance of his high spirit he exhibited after he had become a writer for the stage. Marston and Chapman had been sent to prison, soon after the accession of James to the English throne, on a charge of having reflected injuriously on Scotland in a comedy entitled Eastward Hoe. Jonson having had a part in the composition of the play deemed it his duty to'share in the responsibility, and voluntarily accompanied his fellow-dramatists to prison. His dramatic career was eminently successful; and his fortunes were further improved by royal favour, and the liberal payment which he received for his court masques. In his later life, being reduced to distress by sickness, he found a munificent patron in the Earl of Newcastle; to whom, as a mark of his gratitude, he presented a dramatic interlude on the occasion of a royal visit to the earl's country seat. He died in the year 1637.

Jonson was the most learned of the English dramatists; and valued himself especially on his adherence to the ancient models. He is excellent alike for the perfection of his plots, his vigour in the conception of character, and the robust power of his diction. A man of a fiery temper, as well as of a daring spirit, his life was occasionally embittered by literary quarrels. The charges of malevolence and vindictiveness so long reiterated against him appear to have been brought forward on insufficient grounds. He has recorded, in the most expressive terms, his admiration of Shakespeare, whom he was accused of having depreciated.


[In Cynthia's Revels.
Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep :

Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose ;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear, when day did close :

Bless us then with wished sight,

Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver ;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever :

Thou that makest a shade of night,
Goddess excellently bright.


[In the Silent Woman.] Still to be neat, still to be drest As you were going to a feast; Still to be powder'd, still perfumed: Lady, it is to be presumed, 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 flowing, hair as free : Such sweet neglect more taketh me Than all the adulteries of art; They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.


[In the Masque of the Visions of Delight.] Break, Phant'sie, from thy cave of cloud,

And spread thy purple wings ; Now all thy figures are allow'd,

And various shapes of things ;
It must have blood, and naught of phlegm;
And though it be a waking dream,

Let it like an odour rise

To all the senses here,
And fall like ep upon their eyes,

Or music in their ear.

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be,
Or standing long an oak three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear.
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May;
Although it fall and die that night,
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.


THOMAS CAREw was born A.D. 1589, and descended from a family of the same name, long settled in Devonshire. He was in part educated at Oxford, after which he betook himself to the court of Charles I., of which he wạs one of the most brilliant ornaments. His poems possess a singular sweetness, freshness, and grace. Unfortunately a few of them are not free from a license in remarkable contrast with the refinement of the greater number. Carew died A.1. 1639.


Know, Celia, since thou art so proud,

'Twas I that gave thee thy renown:
Thou hadst, in the forgotten crowd

Of common beauties, lived unknown,
Had not my verse exhaled thy name,
And with it impt the wings of Fame
That killing power is none of thine;

I gave it to thy voice and eyes :
Thy sweets, thy graces, all are mine:

Thou art my star, shinest in my skies;
Then dart not from thy borrow'd sphere
Lightning on him that fix'd thee there,
Tempt me with such affrights no more,

Lest what I made I uncreate:
Let fools thy mystic forms adore,

I'll know thee in thy mortal state.
Wise poets, that wrap truth in tales,
Knew her themselves through all her veils


He that loves a rosy cheek,

Or a coral lip admires,
Or from star-like eyes doth seek

Fuel to maintain his fires;
As old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must waste away.
But a smooth and steadfast mind,

Gentle thoughts and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,

Kindle never-dying fires.
Where these are not, I. despise
Lovely cheeks, or lips or eyes.

WOTTON, SIR HENRY WOTTON was born at Brougton Place, Kent, A.D. 1568. After the accession of James I. to the English throne he was appointed ambassador at the court of Venice. In later life he became a clergyman, and was made provost of Eton. A man of learning, piety, and blameless life, he must ever rank among the worthies of early English literature. He died A.D. 1639


Farewell, ye gilded follies ! pleasing troubles ;
Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles ;
Fame's but a hollow echo, gold pure clay,
Honour the darling but of one short day,
Beauty, th’ eye's idol, but a damask'd skin,
State but a golden prison to live in
And torture free-born minds ; embroider'd trains
Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins ;
And blood, allied to greatness, is alone
Inherited, not purchased, nor our own.
Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood, and birth,
Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.
I would be great, but that the sun doth still
Level his rays against the rising hill;

I would be high, but see the proudest oak
Most subject to the rending thunder-stroke;
I would be rich, but see men too unkind
Dig in the bowels of the richest mind;
I would be wise, but that I often see
The fox suspected while the ass goes free;
I would be fair, but see the fair and proud
Like the bright sun oft setting in a cloud;
I would be poor, but know the humble grass
Still trampled on by each unworthy ass ;
Rich, hated; wise, suspected; scorn’d if poor ;
Great, fear'd ; fair, tempted; high, still envied more.
I have wish'd all; but now I wish for neither
Great, high, rich, wise, nor fair,-poor I'll be rather.
Would the world now adopt me for her heir,
Would beauty's queen entitle me

the fair,
Fame speak me fortune's minion, could I vie
Angelst with India ; with a speaking eye
Command bare heads, bow'd knees, strike justice dumb
As well as blind and lame, or give a tongue
To stones by epitaphs ; be call'd great master
In the loose rhymes of every poetaster;
Could I be more than any man that lives,
Great, fair, rich, wise, all in superlatives :
Yet I more freely would these gifts resign
Than ever fortune would have made them mine;
And hold one minute of this holy leisure
Beyond the riches of this empty pleasure.
Welcome, pure thoughts ! welcome, ye silent groves !
These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves.
Now the wing’d people of the sky shall sing
My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring;
A prayer-book now shall be my looking-glass,
In which I will adore sweet virtue's face;
Here dwell no hateful looks, no palace-cares,
No broken vows dwell here, nor pale-faced fears :
Then here I'll sit, and sigh my hot love's folly,
And learn to affect a holy melancholy;
And if Contentment be a stranger then,
I'll ne'er look for it but in Heav'n again.

1 Pieces of money.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »