Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

22

TO HIS MUCH AND WORTHILY ESTEEMED FRIEND,

THE AUTHOR.
Who takes thy volume to his virtuous hand,
Must be intended still to understand;
Who bluntly doth but look upon the same,
May ask, what author would conceal his name?
Who reads may rove, and call the passage dark,
Yet may as blind men sometimes hit the mark.
Who reads, who roves, who hopes to under-

stand,
May take thy volume to his virtuous hand :
Who cannot read, but only doth desire
To understand, he may at length admire.

TO MY WORTHY AND HONORED FRIEND, MASTER

GEORGE CHAPMAN.

23

Whose work could this be, Chapman, to refine Old Hesiod's ore, and give it thus, but thine, Who had before wrought in rich Homer's mine!

What treasure hast thou brought us! and what

store Still, still, dost thou arrive with at our shore, To make thy honor, and our wealth the more !

22 Prefixed to a piece called Cinthia's Revenge ; or Venander's Extacy, published in 1613; a lugubrious and tedious tragedy in verse the longest play, says Langbaine, that ever was written. Of the author, Jolin Stephens, nothing is known, except that he was a member of Lincoln's Inn. -- B.

23 Prefixed to Chapman's translation of Hesiol's Weeks and Days, 1618. – G.

a

If all the vulgar tongues that speak this day Were asked of thy discoveries, they must say, To the Greek coast thine only knew the way. Such passage hast thou found, such returns

made, As now, of all men, it is called thy trade, And who make thither else, rob, or invade.

TO MY CHOSEN FRIEND, THE LEARNED TRANS

LATOR OF LUCAN, THOMAS MAY, ESQ. 24 When, Rome, I read thee in thy mighty pair, And see both climbing up the slippery stair Of Fortune's wheel, by Lucan driven 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 paysed, 25 And those in number so, and measure raised, As neither Pompey's popularity, Cæsar's ambition, Cato's liberty, Calm Brutus' tenor start, but all along

24 Prefixed to May's translation of Lucan, 1627. May was descended from an ancient family in Sussex, where he was born in 1594. .... He wrote several plays, but his literary reputation rests chietly on his translation of the Pharsalia, and his continuation of that poem, in Latin and English, to the death of Julius Cæsar. The Latin continuatiou was reprinted at Leyden, in 1640, with commenılatory verses by several writers. Dr. Johnson preferred May's Latin poetry to that of Cowley and Milton.- B.

25 Poised.

Keep due proportion in the ample song,
It makes me, ravished with fresh wonder, cry
What Muse, or rather God of harmony
Taught Lucan these true modes ? replies my

sense

What gods but those of arts and eloquence, Phæbus and Hermes ? they whose tongue or

pen, Are still th’ interpreters 'twixt gods 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 stirred? The selfsame genius! so the work will say ; The Sun translated, or the son of May.

26

TO MY DEAR SON, AND RIGHT LEARNED FRIEND,

MASTER JOSEPH RUTTER. 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 ashamed; not when I told the crowd How well I loved truth: I was scarce allowed

26 The "first play" (and only play by this author) to which these lines were prefixed, on its publication in 1635, was a pastoral comedy called The Shepherd's Holiday. Joseph Rutter translated the first part of The Cid of Corneille, at the request of the Earl of Dorset, to whose son he was tutor; and afterwards translated the second part at the command of the king. - B.

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 than would please them, because true:
Such men I've met withal, and so have

you.
Now, for mine own part, and it is but due,
(You have deserved it from me) I have read,
And weighed your play; untwisted every thread,
And know the woof 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) Cried up of late; whereto there must be first A master-worker called, 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 pix, A 'say-master, hath studied all the tricks Of fineness and alloy; follow his hint, You've all the mysteries of wit's new mint, The valuations, mixtures, and the same Concluded from a carat to a dram.

EPIGRAM.

IN AUTHOREM. Thou, that wouldst find the habit of true passion,

And see a mind attired in perfect strains,

27 The poem to which this epigram specially refers is a piece called Melancholike Humour, 1600, by Nicholas Breton,

Not wearing moods, as gallants do a fashion,

In those pied times, only to show their trains, Look here on Breton's work, the master print,

Where such perfections to the life do rise; If they seem wry to such as look asquint,

The fault's not in the object, but their eyes. For, as one coming with a lateral view,

Unto a cunning piece wrought perspective, Wants faculty to make a censure true;

So with this author's readers will it thrive; Which being eyed directly, I divine, His proof their praise 'll incite, as in this line.

TO THE WORTHY AUTHOR

OF "THE HUS

BAND.” 28

It fits not only him that makes a book
To see his work be good; but that he look
Who are his test, and what their judgment is,
Lest a false praise do make their dotage his.
I do not feel that ever yet I had
The art of uttering wares, if they were bad;
Or skill of making matches in my life;
And therefore I commend unto The Wife,29
That went before- a Husband. She, I'll swear,

one of the contributors to England's Helicon, and the anthor of a vast number of poems of very unequal merit, including some short pieces of singular grace and beanty. B.

23 Prefixed to an anonymous work called The Husband; a Poem expressed in a Complete Man. 1614. – B.

29 A poem by Sir Thomas Overbury called The Wife, which obtained considerable popularity from the circumstances

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »