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To make all the muses debtors
And that this so accepted sum,
Please your majesty to make
115 The king granted the prayer of this petition by increas. ing the salary of the laureate to £100, with the additional grant of a tierce of his favorite Canary. The warrant is dated in March, 1630. -- B.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE LORD TREAS
URER OF ENGLAND,
If to my mind, great lord, I had a state,
This I would do, could I know Weston one Catched with these arts, wherein the judge is
wise As far as sense, and only by the eyes. But you
I know, my lord, and know you can Discern between a statue and a man; Can do the things that statues do deserve, And act the business which they paint or carve. What you have studied are the arts of life: To compose men and manners; stint the strife Of murmuring subjects; make the nations know What worlds of blessings to good kings they owe; And mightiest monarchis feel what large increase Of sweets and safeties they possess by peace. These I look up at with a reverent eye, And strike religion in the standers-by; Which, though I cannot, as an architect, In glorious piles or pyramids erect
Unto your honor; I can tune in song
AN EPIGRAM TO MY MUSE, THE LADY DIGBY,
ON HER HUSBAND, SIR KENELM DIGBY. Though, happy Muse, thou know'st my Digby
well, Yet read him in these lines: he doth excel
116 We learn from the following contemporary epigram that Jonson received £ 40 for these verses. TO BEN JONSON, UPON HIS VERSES TO THE EARL OF PORT
LAND, LORD TREASURER.
- B. 117 Sir Kenelm Dighy was as much distinguished by the eccentricity of his conduct, and the singularity of his opinions, as by the graces of his person, and the variety of his accomplishments. He was a brave soldier, a skilful diplomatist, was master of ten or twelve languages, and had a wide acquaintance with general literature and philosophy. But he is now remembered only as the active supporter of some of the most remarkable scientific delusions of his age, which he illustrated by numerous experiments at the early meetings of the Royal Society. He implicitly believed in the transmutation of metals, and in the agency of sympathetic powder obtained from reptiles. The lady to whom Jonson addressed these verses was the celebrated courtesan, Venetia Stanley, whose extraorlinary beauty, before and afier she became Lady Digby, was a common theme of admiration. It was said that Sir Kenelm used to feed her upon capons fattened upon the flesh of vipers, as a means of preserving her charms; and Aubrey tells us that, after her death, which
In honor, courtesy, and all the parts
occurred suddenly, scarcely any brain was discovered in her head, which Sir Kenelm ascribed to her constant use of viper-wine. Digby was one of Jouson's “alopted sons." He died in 1655. -- B.
118 “ He had a fair reputation in arms," says Clarendon, “of which he gave an early testimony in his youth, in some encounters in Spain and Italy, and afterwarıls in an action in the Mediterranean Sea, where he had the command of a squadron of ships of war set out on his own charge, under the king's commission ; with which, upon an injury received or apprehended from the Venetians, he encountered their whole teet, killed many of their men, and sunk one of their galeasses ; which in tiat drowsy and inactive time was looked upon with a general estimation, though the Crown disavowed 1." .- B.
He will clear up his forehead; think thou
bring'st Good omen to him in the note thou sing'st, For he doth love my verses, and will look Upon them, next to Spenser's noble book, 119 And praise them too. Oh! what a fame 'twill be, What reputation to my lines and me, When he shall read them at the Treasurer's board, The knowing Weston, and that learned lord Allows them! then, what copies shall be had, What transcripts begged! how cried up, and
how glad Wilt thou be, Muse, when this shall them befall! Being sent to one, they will be read of all.
A NEW YEAR'S GIFT, SUNG TO KING CHARLES,
New years expect new gifts. Sister, your harp,
Lute, lyre, theorbo, all are called to-day; Your change of notes, the flat, the mean, the
sharp, To show the rites, and t usher forth the way Of the new year, in a new silken warp,
To fit the softness of our year's-gift, when
We sing the best of monarchs, masters, men; For bad we here said less, we had sung nothing
then. 119 Sir Kenelm Dighy wrote a tract called Obserrations on the 22nd stanza in the 9th canto of the 2nd book of Spenser's Fairy Queen, 1644. This was after Jonson's death. -- B.