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WITH INIGO JONES.
ASTER Surveyor, you that first began
1 An Expostulation. That some part of this may have proceeded from Jonson I am not prepared to question ; but it has assuredly been much corrupted or interpolated. The fifth line could not be written by our poet, who was much too good a judge of accent to give this for a verse.
? With mistook names, &c.] A Mr. Webb, related to Jones, published some account of him, in imitation, as it seems to me, of sir Thomas Urquhart's Life of the Admirable Crichton. In this ridiculous rhapsody we are told, that "Mr. Jones was not only proclaimed by public acclamation the Vitruvius of England, but of all Christendom; that his abilities in all human sciences, surpassed most of his age; that he was a perfect master of the mathematics, and had some insight into the two learned languages,” &c. &c. The fact is, that he knew scarcely any thing of either. He was a good scene painter, a better machinist
, and an incomparable architect. I give Jonson full credit for what he says of his antagonist's mistakes.
Vizors, or antics; or it comprehend
3 Th' ascent of lady Fame, which none could spy,
Not they that sided her, dame Poetry.] This alludes to the scenery and decorations of Chloridia. As these were the Surveyor's province, it is possible those here referred to were so injudiciously contrived or ordered, as to occasion the sarcasms of our poet. WHAL.
Court-hieroglyphics, and all arts afford,
4 He is, or would be, the main Dominus Do
All of the work.] This is no forced description of Inigo's manner. In the Declaration of the Commons, already noticed, in behalf of the parishioners of St. Gregory, they complain that "the said Inigo Jones would not undertake the work (of re-edifying the church) unless he might be, as he termed it, sole monarch, or might have the principality thereof,” &c. What follows is still more offensive.
5 Why, thank the good queen Anne.] Consort to James I., who appointed Inigo Jones her architect. "WHAL.
To be worth envy; henceforth I do mean
poesy e'er was painted on a wall,
6 How wou'd he firk, like Adam Overdo,
Up and about, &c.] This line is of some importance, inasmuch as it quite destroys the established opinion that Lantern Leatherhead was meant for Inigo Jones. “Old Ben,” as Mr. Malone truly observes, "generally spoke out," and he was, here, sufficiently angry to identify him with that character, to which not only his allusion to Bartholomew Fair, but his mention of a puppet play, directly led : and we may confidently assure ourselves that he would have done it, had, what he is so often charged with, been ever in his contemplation.
That might compare with thee? what story shall,
TO A FRIEND.
An Epigram of INIGO JONES.
And labours to seem worthy of this fear;
7 Whom not ten fires, nor a parliament, can
With all remonstrance, make an honest man.] Jones, by some arbitrary proceedings, had subjected himself to the censures of parliament; and this seems to refer to the affair between him and the parishioners of St. Gregory in London. In order to execute his design of repairing St. Paul's cathedral, he demolished part of the church of St. Gregory adjoining to it; upon which the parishioners presented a Remonstrance to the parliament against him: but that affair did not come to an issue, till some time after the writing of this satire. WHAL.
The question is, when it began. The Remonstrance was not even presented to Parliament till three years after Jonson's death, and could scarcely have been in contemplation at the date of this satire, 1635. There are many difficulties in the way of those who make Jonson the author of the whole of this piece.
8 Sir Inigo doth fear it, &c.] This is undoubtedly Jonson's, and this seems to shew that nothing had been hitherto written against Jones. The learned writers of the Biographia Britannica, in their zeal to criminate Jonson, strangely mistake the sense of the ninth line,
“If thou art so desirous to be read," “which," they say, “alludes to some attempt of the architect in the poetical way," whereas, it merely means, if you are so desirous to be noticed, hope not for it from me; but, &c.