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love, not the fear, of his subjects upon which a monarch ought to rely. But Jonson's satirical epigrams are both less effective and less elaborate than those of a directly opposite tendency. Few of our Jacobean or Caroline poets have equalled him in pregnancy of panegyric—whether his theme was the praise of statesmen like the elder or the younger Cecil, or of men of letters varying in kind and degree from Selden, whom he salutes as 'monarch of letters,' to the poet's fellow-dramatists. Nor was he less happy when the object of his poetic homage was a gentle woman, like the Countess of Bedford celebrated in the lines cited below. And his Epitaphs, among which room could only be found here for two of the most pathetic, remain unsurpassed, not only for a condensed force which we are accustomed to find in Jonson, but also for a tender grace which he is not so usually supposed to have possessed.

In the collection called the Forest, small as it is, Jonson has done the greatest justice to the variety of poetic styles of which (in addition to the dramatic) he was capable. He here excuses himself for not writing of love, partly on the favourite poets' plea of growing age; and in truth his muse was comparatively a stranger to Eros. Yet the little chaplet of tributes to 'Charis’ put together by Jonson in 1624 and inserted in the Underwoods, and some charming original and translated pieces to be found elsewhere, show him not only to have written graceful love-poetry himself, but to have furnished examples of it to his younger contemporaries. Herrick was in his way almost as much indebted to Jonson as Milton was in his. As a translator or adapter of Classical originals, Jonson was in his element; his re-settings of favourite gems from Catullus and others were doubtless true labours of love. For the ‘bricklayer' (as his opponents delighted to be historically justified in calling him) had the early nurture of a scholar; and through life he remained deeply grateful to the famous Camden, his master at Westminster. That among the Latin poets Horace should have specially attracted him, is easily to be accounted for; in some of his original Epistles he has all the brightness and all the urbanity of his Roman model—in the fine Epode included in the Forest he rises to a moral dignity beyond the reach either of Horace or of his later imitators.

For not even a slight summary like the present should exclude from mention among Jonson's characteristics the firm and steady tone of his morality. In his earlier manhood he twice changed his faith-without the faintest suspicion of interested motives

attaching to his conversion-and in his later days he seems to have remained a close student of theology, inclining now to

'those wiser guides Whom fashion had not drawn to study sides.' But to a conscientious desire for truth he added a humility of soul towards things divine, which stands in strange and touching contrast to the high mettle and quick temper of his bearing in most other matters. Critics have been known to cry out against having to hear too much about the robustness of Ben Jonson ; but his manliness is inseparable from him, and, as the lines To Heaven show, he was not ashamed even of his piety.



[From Cynthia's Revels (acted 1600), Act I, Sc. 1.]
Slow, slov, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears :

Yet slower, yet; O faintly, gentle springs :
List to the heavy part the music bears,
Woe weeps out her division, when she sings.

Droop herbs and flowers,
Fall grief in showers,
Our beauties are not ours;

O, I could still,
Like melting snow upon some craggy hill,

Drop, drop, drop, drop,
Since nature's pride is now a withered daffodil.


[From Volpone ; or, The Fox (acted 1605), Act I. Sc. 6.]

Come, my Celia, let us prove,
While we can, the sports of love.
Time will not be ours for ever ;
He, at length, our good will sever ;
Spend not then his gifts in vain :
Suns that set may rise again ;
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys ?
Fame and rumour are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies?
Or his easier ears beguile,
Thus removed by our wile?

i Compare Catullus, Carmen V. The allusion (not taken from Catullus) in the concluding lines is to a famous Spartan law.

'Tis no sin love's fruits to steal ;
But the sweet thefts to reveal,
To be taken, to be seen, -
These have crimes accounted been.


[From Epicæne; or, The Silent Woman, Act I, Sc. 1; 1609.]

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powdered, 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.

CHARIS TRIUMPH. [One of the ten pieces forming A Celebration of Charis in Underwoods.

The last two stanzas are sung or said by Wittipol in The Devil is an
Ass (acted 1616), Act II, Sc. 2.]
See the chariot at hand here of Love,

Wherein my Lady rideth !
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,

And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty

Unto her beauty;
And enamoured do wish, so they might

But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,

Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride. · A translation from the Latin of Bonnefonius (Jean Bonnefons).

Do but look on her eyes, they do light

All that Love's world compriseth !
Do but look on her hair, it is bright

As Love's star when it riseth !
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother

Than words that soothe her ;
And from her arched brows, such a grace

Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triúmphs to the life
All the gain, all the good of the elements' strife.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you

marked but the fall o' the snow
Before the soil hath smutched it ?
Have you felt the wool of beaver ?

Or swan's down ever ?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar ?

Or the nard in the fire ?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white,-0 so soft,-0 so sweet is she !


[From Hymenæi; or, the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers at the marriage

of the Earl of Essex, 1606.]
Upon her head she wears a crown of stars,
Through which her orient hair waves to her waist,
By which believing mortals hold her fast,
And in those golden cords are carried even,
Till with her breath she blows them up to heaven.
She wears a robe enchased with eagles' eyes,
To signify her sight in mysteries :
Upon each shoulder sits a milk-white dove,
And at her feet do witty serpents move:
Her spacious arms do reach from east to west,
And you may see her heart shine through her breast.
Her right hand holds a sun with burning rays,
Her left a curious bunch of golden keys,
With which heaven's gates she locketh and displays.

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