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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.
A. W. WARD.
ECHO'S LAMENT OF NARCISSUS.
[From Cynthia's Revels (acted 1600), Act I, Sc. 1.]
Yet slower, yet; O faintly, gentle springs :
Droop herbs and flowers,
O, I could still,
Drop, drop, drop, drop,
[From Volpone ; or, The Fox (acted 1605), Act I. Sc. 6.]
Come, my Celia, let us prove,
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 ;
[From Epicæne; or, The Silent Woman, Act I, Sc. I; 1609.]
Still to be neat, still to be drest,
[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
Wherein my Lady rideth !
And well the car Love guideth.
Unto her beauty;
But enjoy such a sight,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride. 1 A translation from the Latin of Bonnefonius (Jean Bonnefons).
Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love's world compriseth !
As Love's star when it riseth !
Than words that soothe her ;
Sheds itself through the face,
Before the soil hath smutched it ?
Or swan's down ever ?
Or the nard in the fire ?
[From Hymenæi; or, the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers at the marriage
of the Earl of Essex, 1606.]