صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

portions and harmony, drawn forth in analytic tables, and made demonstrable to the senses. Which if you, brethren, should report, and swear to, would hardly get credit above a fable, here, in the edge of Derbyshire, the region of ale, because you relate in rhyme. O that rhyme is a shrewd disease, and makes all suspected it would persuade. Leave it, pretty Cupids, leave it. Rhyme will undo you, and hinder your growth and reputation in court, more than any thing beside, you have either mentioned or feared. If you dabble in poetry once, it is done of your being believed or understood here. No man will trust you in this verge, but conclude you for a mere case of canters, or a pair of wandering gipsies.

Return to yourselves, little deities, and admire the miracles you serve, this excellent king and his unparalleled queen, who are the canons, the decretals, and whole school-divinity of Love. Contemplate and study them. Here shall you read Hymen, having lighted two torches, either of which inflame mutually, but waste not. One love by the other's aspect increasing, and both in the right lines of aspiring. The Fates spinning them round and even threads, and of their whitest wool, without brack or purl. Fortune and Time fettered at their feet with adamantine chains, their wings deplumed, for starting from them. All amiableness in the richest dress of delight and colours courting the season to tarry by them, and make the idea of their felicity perfect; together with the love, knowledge, and duty of their subjects perpetual. So wisheth the glad and grateful client, seated here, the overjoyed master of the house; and prayeth that the whole region about him could speak' but his language. Which is, that first the people's love would let that people know their own happiness, and that knowledge could confirm their duties to an admiration of your sacred

persons ; descended, one from the most peaceful, the other the most warlike, both your pious and just progenitors; from whom, as out of peace, came strength, and “out of the strong came sweetness ; so in you joined by holy marriage, in the flower and ripeness of years, live the promise of a numerous succession to your sceptres, and a strength to secure your own islands, with their own ocean, but more your own palm-branches, the types of perpetual victory. To which, two words be added, a zealous Amen, and ever rounded with a crown of Welcome. Welcome, welcome!

[ocr errors]

EP I G R A M S.

BOOK I.

EPIGRAMS.] From the folio of 1616. The Collection is there called Book I., from which it may be collected, that Jonson intended, at the period of its appearance, to make a further selection. It is to be lamented, on many accounts, that he subsequently changed his

purpose. The character of the illustrious nobleman, to whom this manly and high-spirited dedication is addressed, must be looked for in the history of the times.

It may be necessary to admonish the reader not to take up these poems with the general expectation of finding them terminate in a point of wit. This, indeed, is the modern construction of the word; but this was never Jonson's: by Epigram he meant nothing more than a short poem, chiefly restricted to one idea, and equally adapted to the delineation and expression of every passion incident to human life. The work is, in short, an Anthology, and may occasionally remind those who are studious of antiquity, of the collections which pass under that name.

TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOUR AND VIRTUE,

THE MOST NOBLE

WILLIAM EARL OF PEMBROKE,

LORD CHAMBERLAIN,

ETC.

MY LORD,
XHILE you cannot change your merit, I

dare not change your title: it was that
made it, and not I. Under which name, I

here offer to your lordship the ripest of my studies, my EPIGRAMS; which, though they carry danger -" in the sound, do not therefore seek your shelter; for, when I made them, I had nothing in my conscience, to erpressing of which I did need a cipher. But, if I be fallen into those times, wherein, for the likeness of vice, and facts, every one thinks another's ill deeds objected to him; and that in their ignorant and guilty mouths, the common voice is, for their security, Beware the poet! confessing therein so much love to their diseases, as they would rather make a party for them, than be either rid, or told of them ; I must expect, at your Lordship's hand, the protection of truth and liberty, while you are constant to your own goodness. In thanks whereof, I return you the honour of leading forth so many good and great names (as my verses mention on the better part) to their remembrance with posterity. Amongst whom, if I have praised unfortunately any one that doth not deserve ; or, if all answer not, in all numbers, the pictures I have made of them

« السابقةمتابعة »