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That both for wit and sense so oft dost pluck, And never art encountered, I confess;
Nor scarce dost color for it, which is less. Prithee, yet save thy rest; give o'er in time: There's no vexation that can make thee prime.91
CXIII. TO SIR THOMAS OVERBURY.92
So Phoebus make me worthy of his bays,
So where thou liv'st, thou mak'st life under
Where, what makes others great, doth keep thee good!
I think, the fate of court thy coming craved,
91 This word "prime" is a key to the figure that runs through the whole piece. Jonson compares the driveller who hunts and imitates him at every turn to a shallow player at primero, who closely follows the shifts of his antagonist, without possessing either the advantage in his cards, or a sufficient knowledge of the game, to enable him to secure the victory. - B.
92 The date of this epigram may be referred, as Gifford suggests, to the return of Sir Thomas Overbury from his travels. B.
CXIV. TO MISTRESS PHILIP SIDNEY.
I must believe some miracles still be,
CXV. ON THE TOWN'S HONEST MAN.
You wonder who this is, and why I name
Being no vicious person, but the Vice 94
98 Daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, and wife of Sir Philip Sidney. -- B.
94 A character in Moralities.
95 "To come from Tripoli" was a current phrase, signifying that the person to whom it was applied could perform feats of strength and agility in the manner of the Moors. Jonson uses it elsewhere:
"I protest, Sir John, you came on high from Tripoli, as I
Do all that 'longs to th' anarchy of drink,
But if it shall be questioned, undertakes
It will deny all, and forswear it too;
Not that it fears, but will not have to do With such a one, and therein keeps its word; "Twill see its sister naked, ere a sword;
At every meal, where it doth dine or sup,
Of miming, gets th' opinion of a wit;
do every whit; and lift as many joined stools, and leap over 'em, if you would use it."- The Silent Woman, V. i.
Thus also Fletcher :
"Get up to the window there, and presently,
Like a most complete gentleman, come from Tripoli."
Monsieur Thomas, IV. 2. — B.
96 An Italian well known for his skill in such feats; possibly, as suggested by Whalley, the person alluded to under the name of Scoto in King James's Dæmonology.-B.
97 The Vice of old Moralities.-B.
Described, it's thus: defined would you it have? Then, "the town's honest man's" her arrant'st knave.
CXVI. TO SIR WILLIAM JEPHSON.9 Jephson, thou man of men, to whose loved name All gentry yet owe part of their best flame! 99 So did thy virtue' inform, thy wit sustain That age, when thou stood'st up the master
Thou wert the first mad'st merit know her
And those that lacked it, to suspect, at length,
That blood not minds, but minds did blood adorn;
Virtuously practise, must at least allow
Them in, if not from thee, or must commit
98 The name of this gentleman, who seems to have achieved distinction in his own day by the force of his merits, does not appear elsewhere among the contemporaries of Jonson. --B. It was probably the same as Sir William Jepson, who is mentioned in Nichols's Progress of James I., I. 92, as one of the entertainers of the King at Belvoir Castle.
99 Bell corrects to "fame."
CXVII. ON GROINE.
Groine, come of age, his 'state sold out of hand For 's whore; Groine doth still occupy his land.
CXVIII. ON GUT.
Gut eats all day and lechers all the night,
CXIX. TO SIR RALPH SHELTON. 100
Not he that flies the court for want of clothes
Treading a better path, not contrary;
100 This is the person who engaged with Mr. Hayden, in the mid frolic of rowing up Fleet Ditch to Holborn, celebrated in the epigram; but I know nothing more of him. -- G. 101 Press
"The king is at hand, stand close in the prease.”