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AN EPIGRAM TO THE HOUSEHOLD.
What can the cause be, when the king hath given His poet sack, the household will not pay? Are they so scanted in their store? or driven For want of knowing the poet, to say him nay? Well, they should know him, would the king but grant
His poet leave to sing his household true; He'd frame such ditties of their store and want,
Would make the very Greencloth to look blue: And rather wish in their expense of sack, So the allowance from the king to use, As the old bard should no canary lack; "Twere better spare a butt, than spill his muse. For in the genius of a poet's verse,
The king's fame lives. Go now, deny his
EPIGRAM TO A FRIEND AND SON.
Son, and my friend, I had not called you so
105 This epigram is said to have given offence to the Board of Greencloth; and it is added that Jonson did not get his tierce of wine, to which he was entitled as part of the perquisites of his office of laureate, till he had written another epigram in a more subdued tone.
His is more safe commodity, or none,
To judge, so all men coming near can spy;
TO THE IMMORTAL MEMORY AND FRIENDSHIP OF THAT NOBLE PAIR, SIR LUCIUS CARY AND SIR HENRY MORISON.106
Brave infant of Saguntum, clear
106 Sir Lucius Cary, better known to modern readers as the gallant Lord Falkland who fell at the battle of Naseby,
When the prodigious Hannibal did crown with razing your immortal town.
Thou, looking then about,
Ere thou wert half got out,
Wise child, didst hastily return,
And mad'st thy mother's womb thine urn. How summed a circle didst thou leave mankind Of deepest lore, could we the centre find!
Did wiser Nature draw thee back,
From out the horror of that sack,
Where shame, faith, honor, and regard of right, Lay trampled on? the deeds of death and night, Urged, hurried forth, and hurled
Upon th' affrighted world;
Sword, fire, and famine, with fell fury met,
As, could they but life's miseries foresee,
was married to Letice, sister of Sir Henry Morison. An early attachment appears to have grown up between these young men, who were two of the poet's most cherished "adopted sons." Sir Henry did not live to witness the marriage of his friend with his sister, and Falkland himself perished in the thirty-fourth year of his age. In some of the editions this poem is entitled "A Pindaric Ode," of which it is a perfect example; but as Jonson himself did not give it that title, it is not introduced into the text. The reader need scarcely be reminded that the terms "turn," counter-turn," and "stand," prefixed to the stanzas, are merely the equivalents of the "strophe," "antistrophe," and "epode." ― B.
For what is life, if measured by the space
Or masked man, if valued by his face,
Here's one outlived his peers,
And told forth fourscore years;
He vexed time, and busied the whole state; Troubled both foes and friends,
But ever to no ends.
What did this stirrer but die late?
How well at twenty had he fallen or stood!
He entered well, by virtuous parts,
Got up, and thrived with honest arts;
He purchased friends, and fame, and honors
And had his noble name advanced with men : But weary of that flight,
He stooped in all men's sight
To sordid flatteries, acts of strife,
So deep, as he did then death's waters sup,
Alas! but Morison fell young:
He never fell, thou fall'st, my tongue.
He stood a soldier to the last right end.
All offices were done
By him, so ample, full, and round,
Go now, and tell out days summed up with fears, And make them years;
Produce thy mass of miseries on the stage,
Repeat of things a throng,
To show thou hast been long,
Not lived for life doth her great actions spell, By what was done and wrought
In season, and so brought
To light her measures are, how well
Each syllable answered, and was formed, how
These make the lines of life, and that's her air!
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear;
A lily of a day