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XII. EPISTLE TO ELIZABETH, COUNTESS OF
Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold,
That which, to boot with hell, is thought worth heaven,
And, for it, life, conscience, yea, souls are given,
Just to the weight their this day's presents bear;
While it makes huishers serviceable men,
Runs between man and man, 'tween dame and
Solders cracked friendship; makes love last a
Or perhaps less: whilst gold bears all this sway, I, that have none (to send you) send you verse : A present which, if elder writs rehearse
The truth of times, was once of more esteem
20 See ante, p. 40.
Than this our gilt, nor golden age can deem,"
The world hath seen, which all these had in trust,
It is the muse alone can raise to heaven,
Painted, or carved upon our great men's tombs
21 "Aurum irrepertum et sic melius situm
Cum terra celat, spernere fortior
Quam cagere humanos in usus
Omne sacrum rapiente dextra."
HORACE, Od. III. iii. 49-52.
That bred them, graves: when they were born
That had no muse to make their fame abide.
Or, in an army's head, that, locked in brass, Gave killing strokes. There were brave men before
Ajax or Idomen, or all the store
That Homer brought to Troy; yet none so live,
But only poets, rapt with rage divine?
And such, or my hopes fail, shall make you shine.
22 Lucy, Countess of Bedford. See ante, pp. 39, 42, 50. 23 There can be no doubt, as shown by Gifford, that the person here alluded to is Daniel. The cause of Daniel's "envy" was natural enough, Jonson having superseded him as the writer of masques for the Court on the accession of
Yet, for the timely favors she hath done
I have already used some happy hours
To her remembrance; which when time shall bring
To curious light, to notes I then shall sing,
James I. When Daniel took his leave of poetry, he alluded in his closing address to the labors of his past life, by which he had endeavored to improve the tastes and morals of the age, and to the fact of having outlived his popularity, and being obliged to give way to younger men. In that wellknown and affecting passage there is not a solitary trace of querulousness or spleen; nor would it be consistent with his general character to suppose that at any time he betrayed an unworthy jealousy of his rivals. There was a just ground for a strong personal feeling in reference to Jonson; but there is no reason to believe that it ever took a shape of bitterness or detraction. Daniel was one of the most virtuous and honorable men of his time, and Jonson did not hesitate to acknowledge his worth as a man, although he refused to recognize his merits as a poet. "Samuel Daniel," he said, was a good honest man, but no poet.' - B.
24 Jonson contemplated an Epic poem, to be entitled Heroologia, or the Worthies of this Country roused by Fame; but the design was never executed. He here indicates a similar project for celebrating the most distinguished women of his time.
There, like a rich and golden pyramid,
Borne up by statues, shall I rear your head
And show how to the life my soul presents Your form impressed there; not with tickling 25 rhymes
Or commonplaces, filched, that take these times, But high and noble matter, such as flies
From brains entranced, and filled with ecstasies;
Moods, which the godlike Sidney oft did prove, And your brave friend and mine so well did love.
Who, wheresoe'er he be
[The rest is lost.]
XIII. EPISTLE TO KATHARINE, LADY AUBIGNY.26
As what they've lost t' expect, they dare deride.
25 The folio reads "tickling"; obviously a misprint. In Jonson's Masque of The Fortunate Isles, Skogan, the jester, is described as a writer in rhyme, "fine tinkling rhyme." The same epithet is also employed by Marvell and Dryden. - B.
26 Daughter of Sir Gervase, afterwards Baron, Clifton, and married to Lord Aubigny in 1607. See ante, p. 75. — B.