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To make all the muses debtors
To his bounty, by extension
Of a free poetic pension,
A large hundred marks annuity,
To be given me in gratuity
For done service, and to come:

And that this so accepted sum,
Or dispensed in books or bread
(For with both the Muse was fed),
Hath drawn on me, from the times,
All the envy of the rhymes,
And the rattling pit-pat noise
Of the less poetic boys,
When their pot-guns aim to hit,
With their pellets of small wit,
Parts of me they judged decayed ;
But we last out, still unlayed.

Please your majesty to make
Of your grace, for goodness' sake,
Those your father's marks, your pounds;
Let their spite, which now abounds,
Then go on, and do its worst;
This would all their envy burst;
And so warm the poet's tongue,
You'd read a snake in his next song. 115

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.




If to my mind, great lord, I had a state,
I would present you now with curious plate
Of Nuremberg, or Turkey; hang your rooms,
Not with the Arras, but the Persian looms;
I would, if price or prayer could them get,
Send in what or Romano, Tintoret,
Titian, or Raphael, Michael Angelo,
Have left in fame to equal, or outgo
The old Greek hands in picture, or in stone.

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
Aloud; and, haply, it may last as long. 11



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

Your verses are commended, and 'tis true,
That they were very good, I mean to you ;
For they returned you, Ben, as I was told,
A certain sum of forty pound in gold ;
The verses then being rightly understood,
His lordship, not Ben Jonson, made them good.

- 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
Court can call hers, or man could call his arts.
He's prudent, valiant, just, and temperate;
In hin all virtue is beheld in state;
And he is built like some imperial room
For that to dwell in, and be still at home.
His breast is a brave palace, a broad street,
Where all heroic ample thoughts do meet:
Where Nature such a large survey hath ta’en,
As other souls, to his, dwelt in a lane:
Witness his action done at Scanderoon,
Upon his birthday, the eleventh of June;
When the apostle Barnaby, the bright,
Unto our year doth give the longest light,
In sign the subject, and the song will live,
Which I have vowed posterity to give.
Go, Muse, in, and salute him. Say he be
Busy, or frown at first; when he sees thee


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.




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.

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