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Through seas, storms, tempests; and, embarked
Came back untouched. This man hath travelled
CXXIX. TO MIME.
That not a pair of friends each other see,
That scarce the town designeth any feast
To which thou'rt not a week bespoke a guest; That still thou'rt made the supper's flag, the drum,
The very call, to make all other come:
Think'st thou, Mime, this is great? or, that they
Whose noise shall keep thy miming most alive, Whilst thou dost raise some player from the
Outdance the babion, or outboast the brave; 108
108 That is, outdance the baboon or outboast the bravo. 109 Cokely, Pod, and Gue were masters of motions, or puppet-shows, and exhibitors at Bartholomew Fair. See Epigram xcvii. p. 53.
And thine own Coriat 110 too. But, wouldst thou
Men love thee not for this: they laugh at thee.
CXXX. TO ALPHONSO FERRABOSCo,' ON HIS
To urge, my loved Alphonso, that bold fame
110 Thomas Coryat, an eccentric traveller of the reign of James I. and a butt of Ben Jonson and his brother wits. In 1608 Coryat took a journey on foot through France, Italy, Germany, &c., which lasted five months, during which he had travelled 1975 miles, more than half upon one pair of shoes, which were only once mended, and on his return were hung up in the church of Odcombe in Somersetshire. He published his travels under this title: "Crudities hastily gobbled up in Five Months' Travel in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia, Helvetia, some parts of High Germany, and the Netherlands, 1611,' 4to; reprinted in 1776, 3 vols. 8vo. This work was ushered into the world by an 'Odcombian banquet' consisting of near sixty copies of verses, made by the best poets of that time, which, if they did not make Coryat pass with the world for a man of great parts and learning, contributed not a little to the sale of his book. Among these poets were Ben Jonson, Sir John Harrington, Inigo Jones (the architect), Chapman, Donne, Drayton, and others."THORNBURY's Old and New London, I. 351.
111 The composer of the music of most of Jonson's masques, to whose merits the poet on other occasions bears the warmest testimony. — B.
And is t' a body, often, ill inclined,
No less a sov'reign cure than to the mind;
CXXXI. TO THE SAME.
When we do give, Alphonso, to the light
The learn'd have no more privilege than the lay.
Even those for whom they do this, know they err;
CXXXII. TO MR. JOSHUA SYLVESTER.'
If to admire were to commend, my praise
Might then both thee, thy work and merit raise:
And utter stranger to all air of France,)
112 The translator of Bartas [on the Creation]. Few productions of that age obtained more popularity, and deserved it less, than this eccentric translation. Vicars called Sylvester the "best of poets," and Dryden, in his boyhood, thought Spenser mean in comparison. Jonson, who was one of Sylvester's intimate friends, and by some said to have been his relative, here assigns to his translation the merit of an original; but it is proper to add that he afterwards recanted this panegyric, declaring that when he wrote it he was not sufficiently acquainted with French to be able to judge adequately of the translation, which he considered "not well done." Of Bartas himself he thought very indifferently, saying that he was "not a poet, but a verser." Sylvester was born in 1563, and died in Holland in 1618. There is little more known of him, except that he was singularly neglected by the age that esteemed him so highly, and that he passed the greater part of his life in a struggle with poverty, which finally drove him into exile to escape a jail at home.-B.
CXXXIII. ON THE FAMOUS VOYAGE.113
No more let Greece her bolder fables tell
With tales of Troy's just knight, our faiths abuse;
Lashed by their consciences, to die, afeard.
113 Of this "voyage . . . I shall only say that more humor and poetry are wasted on it than it deserves. As a picture of a populous part of London, it is not without some interest, and might admit of a few remarks; but I dislike the subject, and shall therefore leave the reader, who will not follow my example, and pass lightly over it, to the annotations of Whalley.-G. The present editor is quite willing to walk off with Gifford, and doubts not that readers of Jonson to-day will likewise. Whalley's notes are reproduced by Bell.