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What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in
things! What sight in searching the most antique springs! What weight, and what authority in thy speech! Men scarce can make that doubt, but thou canst
teach. Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty, Which conquers all, be once o'ercome by thee. Many of thine this better could, than I; But for their powers, accept my piety.
XV. ON COURT-WORM. All men are worms: but this no man. In silk 'Twas brought to court first wrapt, and white as
milk; Where afterwards it grew a butterfly, Which was a caterpillar: so 'twill die.
TO BRAIN-HARDY. Hardy, thy brain is valiant, 'tis confest; Thou more, that with it every day dar'st jest Thyself into fresh brawls; when, called upon, Scarce thy week's swearing brings thee off, of one. So, in short time, thou’rt in arrearage grown Some hundred quarrels, yet dost thou fight none; Nor need'st thou ; for those few, by oath released, Make good what thou dar'st do in all the rest. Keep thyself there, and think thy valor right, He that dares damn himself, dares more than
TO THE LEARNED CRITIC.
May others fear, fly, and traduce thy name,
As guilty men do magistrates; glad I, That wish my poems a legitimate fame,
Charge them, for crown, to thy sole censure hie. And but a sprig of bays, given by thee, Shalloutlive garlands stolen from the chaste tree.1
TO MY MERE ENGLISH CENSURER.
To thee my way in Epigrams seems new,
OX SIR COD THE PERFUMED.
18 That is, the laurel ; Daphne, rather than consent to the desires of A pollo, being changed into that tree. – W.
14 Contemporaries of Jonson ; the former a writing-master at Oxford, who published a collection of epigrams called A Scourge of Folly, and the latter a compiler of old inscriptions and epitaphs which he published under the title of Funeral Jonuments. – B.
15 A play on the double meaning of the last word, an evil
Th' expense in odors is a most vain sin,
ON REFORMED GAMESTER.
Lord, how is Gamester changed ! his hair close
cut! His neck fenced round with ruff! his
half shut! His clothes two fashions off, and poor! his sword Forbid his side! and nothing but the Word Quick in his lips ! 18 who hath this wonder
wrought? The late ta'en bastinado. So I thought : What several ways men to their calling have ! The body's stripes, I see, the soul may save.
XXII. ON MY FIRST DAUGHTER.
genius or spirit, and a stinking breath. . ... The name of the person to whom this epigram is addressed is borrowed from the cod, or little purse, in which civet and other perfumes were kept in the poet's day. - G.
16 The whole description strictly answers to that of the Puritans of a later date. Similar descriptions will be found in the poems of Cleveland and Butler.
With safety of her innocence;
TO JOHN DONNE 17 Donne, the delight of Phæbus and each muse, Who to thy on all other brains refuse; Whose every work, of thy most early wit, Came forth example and remains so yet; Longer a knowing than most wits do live, And which no affection praise enough can give! To it thy language, letters, arts, best life, Which might with half mankind maintain a All which I meant to praise, and yet I would; But leave, because I cannot as I should.
17 Of all his poetical contemporaries, Jonson appears to have held Donne's genius in the highest estimation, although he thought his Anniversary profane, and said that he deserved hanging for not “keeping of accent," and that he would perish from not being understood. "He esteeneth John Donne," records Drummond, “the first poet in the world in some things ; his verses of the Lost Chain he hath by heart; and that passage of The Calm, “That dust and feathers do not stir, all was so quiet.' He affirmeth Donne to have written all his best pieces ere he was twenty-five years old.” There is no such passage in The Calm. The words are:
“In one place lay Feathers and dust, to-day and yesterday." — B.
There's reason good that you good laws should
make; Men's manners ne'er were viler for
XXV. ON SIR VOLUPTUOUS BEAST. While Beast instructs his fair and innocent wife In the past pleasures of his sensual life, Telling the motions of each petticoat, And how his Ganymede moved, and how his goat, And now, her (hourly) her own cucquean makes, In varied shapes, which for his lust she takes : What doth he else, but say, Leave to be chaste, Just wife, and, to change me, make woman's
ON THE SAME BEAST. his chaste wife, though Beast now know
no more, He adulters still: his thoughts lie with a whore.
ON SIR JOHN ROE.18 In place of 'scutcheons that should deck thy
hearse, Take better ornaments, my tears and verse.
18 Gifford conjectures that this gentleman was one of the four sons of Sir Thomas Roe, a London merchant of great