Page images

For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lily outshine,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I will not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Eschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvios, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage: or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison

Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come..
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated and deserted lie,

As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all: thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion. And that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muse's anvil; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame;
Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn,
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thon. Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue: even so the race

Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines In his well-turned, and true filed lines:

In each of which he seems to shake a lance,

As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon! what a sight it were,
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those slights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanc'd, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd
Jike night,

And despairs day, but for thy volumes' light,


Quod fœlix fastumque convivis in Apolline sit.

1. NEMO asymbolus, nisi umbra, huc venito. 2. Idiota, insulsus, tristis, turpis, abesto.

3. Eruditi, urbani, hilares, honesti, adsciscuntor. 4. Nec lectæ fœminæ repudiantor. [esto.

5. In apparatu quod convivis corruget nares nil 6. Epulæ delectu potius quam sumptu parentur.

7. Obsonator et coquus convivarum gulæ periti sunto.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

12. Let the contest be rather of books than of wine.
13. Let the company be neither noisy nor mute.
14. Let none of things serious, much less of divine,
When belly and head's full, profanely dispute.

15. Let no saucy fidler presume to intrude,
Unless he is sent for to vary our blisse.
16. With mirth, wit, and dancing, and singing con-

To regale ev'ry sense, with delight in excess.

17. Let raillery be without malice or heat.
18. Dull poems to read let none privilege take.
19. Let no poetaster command or entreat
Another extempore verses to make.

20. Let argument bear no unmusical sound,·

Nor jars interpose, sacred friendship to grieve. 21. For generous lovers let a corner be found,

Where they in soft sighs may their passions relieve.

22. Like the old Lapithites, with the goblets to fight,
Our own 'mongst offences unpardon'd will rank;
Or breaking of windows, or glasses, for spite,
And spoiling the goods for a rakehelly prank.

23. Whoever shall publish what's said, or what's done,
Be he banish'd forever our assembly divine.
24. Let the freedom we take be perverted by none,
To make any guilty by drinking good wine.



WELCOME all that lead or follow
To the oracle of Apollo-
Here he speaks out of his pottle,
Or the tripos, his tower bottle:
All his answers are divine,
Truth itself doth flow in wine.
Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers,
Cries old Sym, the king of skinkers 2;
He the half of life abuses,
That sits watering with the Muses.
Those dull girls no good can mean us;
Wine it is the milk of Venus 3,
And the poet's horse accounted:
Ply it, and you all are mounted.
'Tis the true Phoebeian liquor
Cheers the brains, makes wit the quicker.
Pays all debts, cures all diseases,
And at once three senses pleases.
Welcome all that lead or follow,
To the oracle of Apollo.




I HAD you for a servant once, Dick Broome,
And you perform'd a servant's faithful parts:
Now you are got into a nearer room

Of fellowship, professing my old arts.
And you do do them well, with good applause,
Which you have justly gained from the stage,
By observation of those comic laws,

3 Wine it is the milk of Venus.] From the Greek Anacreontic, Civo; Tara Appo£ilm;•

Which I your master first did teach the age. You learn'd it well, and for it serv'd your time,

A 'prenticeship, which few do now-a-days:
Now each court hobby-horse will wince in rhyme,
Both learned and unlearned, all write plays.
It was not so of old: men took up trades

That knew the craft they had been bred in right,
An honest bilboe-smith would make good blades,

And the physician teach men spue and shThe cobler kept him to his awl; but now He'll be a poet, scarce can guide a plow.

[blocks in formation]

2 Cries old Sim, the king of skinkers.] Old Sim As the shrieve's crusts, and nasty as his fishmeans Simon Wadloe, who then kept the Devil Tavern; and of him probably is the old catch, begin-Thrown ning, Old sir Simon the king—

Scraps, out of every dish

forth, and rank'd into the common tub,
May keep up the play-club:
There sweepings do as well
As the best order'd meal.

For who the relish of these guests will fit,
Needs set them but the alms-basket of w

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

"New Inn, Act III. Scene 2.-Act IV. Scene 4. ? Thomas Randolph, A. M. fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, born at Newnham, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, June 15th. 1605; died at Blatherwyke in that county, March 17th, 1654. His extensive learning, gaiety of humour, and readiness of repartee, gained him admirers among all ranks of mankind, and more especially recommended him to the intimacy and friendship of Jonson, who admitted him as one of his adopted

[blocks in formation]

Thou better know'st a groundsil for to lay, Than lay the plot or ground-work of a play; And better canst direct to cap a chimney, Than to converse with Clio or Polyhimny. Fall then to work in thy old age agen; Take up thy trug and trowel, gentle Ben; Let plays alone; or if thou needs will write, And thrust thy feeble Muse into the light, Let Lowen cease, and Taylor scorn to touch The lothed stage, for thou hast made it such.


SHALL the prosperity of a pardon still
Secure thy railing rhymes, infamous Gill,
At libelling? Shall no star-chamber peers,
Pillory, nor whip, nor want of ears,
All which thou hast incurr'd deservedly,
Nor degradation from the ministry,
To be the Denis of thy father's school,
Keep in thy bawling wit, thou bawling fool?
Thinking to stir me, thou hast lost thy end,
I'll laugh at thee, poor wretched tike; go send
Thy blotant Muse abroad, and teach it rather
A tune to drown the ballads of thy father:
For thou hast nought in thee, to cure his fame,
But tune and noise, the echo of his shame.
A rogue by statute, censur'd to be whipt,
Cropt, branded, slit, neck-stockt; go, you are stript.



PREFIXED TO THe shepherd's holiday, a pastORAŁ TRAGI-COMEDY. 1635.

You look, my Joseph, I should something say
Unto the world in praise of your first play :
And truly, so I would, could I be heard.
You know I never was of truth afeard,
And less asham'd; not when I told the crowd
How well I lov'd truth: I was scarce allow'd
By those deep-grounded, understanding men,
That sit to censure plays, yet know not when,
Or why to like; they found, it all was new,
And newer, then [r. than] could please them by cause

true. Such men I met withal, and so have you. Now for mine own part, and it is but due (You have deserv'd it from me), I have read, And weigh'd your play: untwisted ev'ry thread, And know the woofe, and warp thereof; can tell Where it runs round, and even where so well, So soft, and smooth it handles, the whole piece, As it were spun by nature, off the fleece: This is my censure. Now there is a new Office of wit, a mint, and (this is true) Cry'd up of late: whereto there must be first A malter-worker call'd, th' old standard burst Of wit, and a new made: a warden then, And a comptroller, two most rigid men For order and for governing the pixe, A say-master, hath studied all the tricks Of fineness and alloy: follow his hint, You've all the mysteries of wit's new mints The valuations, mixtures, and the same Concluded from a carract to a dramme.



WHEN, Rome, I read thee in thy mighty pair,
And see both climbing up the slippery stair
Of Fortune's wheel, by Lucan driv❜n about,
And the world in it, I begin to doubt,
At every line some pin thereof should slack,
At least, if not the general engine crack.
But when again I view the parts so piz'd,
And those in number so, and measure rais'd,
As neither Pompey's popularity,
Cæsar's ambition, Cato's liberty,
Calm Brutus' tenor start, but all along
Keep due proportion in the ample song,
It makes me ravish'd with just wonder, cry
What Muse, or rather god of harmony,
Taught Lucan these true moodes? replies my sense,
What gods, but those of arts and eloquence?
Phoebus and Hermes? They whose tongue, or pen,
Are still th' interpreters 'twixt God and men !
But who hath them interpreted, and brought,
Lucan's whole frame unto us, and so wrought,
As not the smallest joint, or gentlest word
In the great mass, or machine there is stirr'd?
The self same genius! so the work will say.
The sun translated, or the son of May.


It fits not onely him that makes a booke
To see his worke be good: but that he looke
Who are his test, and what their judgment is,
Lest a false praise do make theyr dotage his,
I do not feel that ever yet I had

The art of utt'ring wares, if they were bad:
Or skill of making matches in my life:
And therefore I commend unto the Wife'
That went before-a Husband. She, I'le sweare,
Was worthy of a good one: and this here
I know for such, as (if my word will weigh)
She need not blush upon the marriage day. 10



Ir to a woman's head a painter would
Set a horse-neck, and divers feathers fold
On every limbe, ta'en from a severall creature,
Presenting upwards a faire female feature,
Which in some swarthie fish uncomely ends:
Admitted to the sight, although his friends
Could you containe your laughter? Credit me,
This peece, my Piso's, and that booke agree,
Whose shapes, like sick-men's dreames, are fain'd so
As neither head nor foot, one forme retaine. [vaine,
But equall power, to painter and to poët.

Of daring all, hath still beene given; we know it:
And both doe crave, and give againe this leave.
Yet, not as therefore wild and tame should cleave

By Sir Thomas Overbury.

10 From the Censura Literaria, vol. 5.

Together not that we should serpents see With doves; or lambes with tygres coupled be.

In grave beginnings, and great things profest, Ye have oft-times, that may ore-shine the rest, A scarlet peece, or two, stitch'd in: when or Diana's grove, or altar, with the borDring circles of swift waters that intwine The pleasant grounds, or when the river Rhine, Or rainbow is describ'd. But here was now No place for these. And, painter, hap'ly thou Know'st only well to paint a cipresse tree. What's this? if he, whose money hireth thee To paint him, hath by swimming hopelesse scap'd, The whole fleet wreck'd? a great jarre to be shap'd, Was meant at first. Why forcing still about Thy labouring wheele, comes scarce a pitcher out. In short; I bid, let what thou work'st upon, Be simply quite throughout, and wholly one.

Most writers, noble sire, and either sonne, Are, with the likenesse of the truth undone. My selfe for shortnesse labour; and I grow Obscure. This, striving to run smooth and flow, Hath neither soule nor sinewes. Loftie he Professing greatnesse swells: that low by lee Creepes on the ground; too safe, too afraid of storme. This seeking, in a various kind to forme One thing prodigiously paints in the woods, A dolphin, and a boare amid' the floods. So, shunning faults, to greater fault doth lead, When in a wrong, and artlesse way we tread. The worst of statuaries, here about Th' Emilian schoole, in brasse can fashion ont The nailes, and every curled haire disclose; But the maine worke haplesse: since he knowe Not to designe the whole. Should I aspire To forme a worke, I would no more desire To be that smith; than live, mark'd one of those, With faire black eyes and haire, and a wry nose.

Take therefore, you that write, still matter fit Unto your strength and long examine it, Upon your shoulders. Prove what they will beare, And what they will not. Him whose choice doth reare His matter to his power, in all he makes, Nor language, nor cleere order ere forsakes. The vertue of which order, and true grace, Or I am much deceiv'd, shall be to place Invention. Now to speake; and then defer Much, that mought now be spoke: omitted here Till fitter season. Now, to like of this, Lay that aside, the epick's office is.

In using also of new words to be

Right spare, and warie: then thou speak'st to me
Most worthie praise, when words that common grew,
Are, by thy cunning placing, made meere new.
Yet, if by chance, in utt'ring things abstruse,
Thou need new termes; thou maist, without excuse,
Faine words, unheard of to the well-truss'd race
Of the Cethegi; and all men will grace,
And give, being taken modestly, this leave,
And those thy new and late-coyn'd words receive,
So they fall gently from the Grecian spring,
And come not too much wrested. What's that thing,
A Roman to Cæcilius will allow,

Or Plautus, and in Virgil disavow,

Or Varius? why am I now envi'd so,

If I can give some small increase? when loe, Cato's and Epius' tongues have lent much worth, And wealth unto our language; and brought forth New names of things. It hath beene ever free, And ever will, to utter termes that be

« PreviousContinue »