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THE VOYAGE ITSELF.
I sing the brave adventure of two wights,
One was; and he, for brawn and brain, right able
But, in the action, greater man than he
It was the day, what time the powerful moon
Proposed to go to Holborn in a wherry:
114 The persons alluded to in these lines are William Kempe, Taylor, the water poet, and Coryat. — G.
115 The celebrated rendezvous of the wits. It would seem from this allusion that Shelton and Heyden were amongst the frequenters of the house. In another place (see ante, p.57.) Jonson lets us know that he used to send to the Mermaid for his Canary wine. It is curious enough that the house was kept at this time by a vintner of the name of Johnson. -- B.
A dock there is, that called is Avernus,
The many perils of this port, and how
Thou hast seen hell, some say, and know'st all nooks there,
Canst tell me best how every Fury looks there,
In the first jaws appeared that ugly monster, Yelep'd mud, which, when their oars did once stir, Belched forth an air as hot as at the muster Of all your night-tubs when the carts do cluster, Who shall discharge first his merd-urinous load: Thorough her womb they make their famous road, Between two walls; where, on one side, to scar
Were seen your ugly centaurs, ye call car-men, Gorgonian scolds, and harpies: on the other Hung stench, diseases, and old filth, their mother, With famine, wants, and sorrows many a dozen, The least of which was to the plague a cousin. But they unfrighted pass, though many a privy Spake to 'em louder than the ox in Livy;
And many a sink poured out her rage anenst 'em ; But still their valor and their virtue fenced 'em, And on they went, like Castor brave and Pollux, Ploughing the main. When, see, the worst of all lucks!
They met the second prodigy, would fear a Man, that had never heard of a chimera. One said, 'twas bold Briareus, or the beadle, (Who hath the hundred hands when he doth meddle ;)
The other thought it Hydra, or the rock
Back, cried their brace of Charons; they cried, No, No going back; on still, you rogues, and row. How hight the place? a voice was heard, Cocytus. Row close then, slaves. Alas! they will beshite us. No matter, stinkards, row. What croaking sound
116 Possibly, Scylla, who cut the golden hair from the head of her father, Nisus; but, as Whalley observes, Scylla was turned into a bird, not into a rock. - B.
Is this we hear? of frogs? No, guts wind-bound,
Over your heads; well, row.
At this a loud
Crack did report itself, as if a cloud
Had burst with storm, and down fell, ab excelsis,
And all his followers, that had so abused him,
His spirits now in pills, and eke in potions,
"But many moons there shall not wane," quoth he,
117 Lourden, or, as spelt in the text, lurden, is a heavy, or lumpish fellow, from lourd, heavy. Lourdin, Fr. Jonson applies it to the great lumbering lighter which obstructed the course of the wherry.-B.
Stunk not so ill; nor, when she kissed, Kate Arden.
Yet one day in the year for sweet 'tis voiced, And that is when it is the Lord Mayor's foist.
By this time had they reached the Stygian pool By which the masters swear, when, on the stool Of worship, they their nodding chins do hit Against their breasts. Here, several ghosts did flit,
About the shore, of farts but late departed, White, black, blue, green, and in more forms outstarted,
Than all those atomi ridiculous,
Whereof old Democrite, and Hill Nicholas,118 One said, the other swore, the world consists. These be the cause of those thick frequent mists Arising in that place, through which, who goes, Must try the unused valor of a nose:
And that ours did. For yet, no nare was
Nor thumb, nor finger, to the stop acquainted, But open, and unarmed, encountered all: Whether it languishing stuck upon the wall, Or were precipitated down the jakes,
And after, swam abroad in ample flakes,
118 Nicholas Hill, a fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, who, according to Antony Wood, adopted the notions of Democritus about atoms, and was a great patron of the Corpuscular philosophy. — B.
119 Nose; from nares. - B.