Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

BENJAMIN Jonson, (or Johnson,) a poet, who, gives a particular examination of his "Silent Wo. during life, attained a distinguished character, was man," as a model of perfection. He afterwards the posthumous son of a clergyman in Westminster, however, seems to make large deductions from this where he was born in 1574, about a month after his commendation. “You seldom (says Dryden) find father's decease. His family was originally from him making love in any of his scenes, or endeavor. Scotland, whence his grandfather removed to Car- ing to move the passions; his genius was too sullen lisle, in the reign of Henry VIII.

and saturnine to do it gracefully. Humor was his Benjamin received his education under the learned proper sphere; and in that he delighted most u Camden, at Westminster school ; and had made represent mechanics." Besides his comedies, Jonson extraordinary progress in his studies, when his mo-composed two tragedies, Sejanus and Catiline, both ther, who had married a bricklayer for her second formed upon ancient models, and full of transhusband, took him away to work under his step-lations; and neither of them successful. His dra. father. From this humble employment he escaped, matic compositions, however, do not come within by enlisting as a soldier in the army, then serving in the scope of the present publication. the Netherlands against the Spaniards. An exploit In 1616, he published a folio volume of his works, which he here performed, of killing an enemy in which procured for him a grant from his majesty of single combat, gave him room to boast ever after of the salary of poet-laureate for life, though he did not a degree of courage which has not often been found take possession of the post till three years after. in alliance with poetical distinction.

With high intellectual endowments, he had many On his return, Jonson entered himself at St. unamiable traits in his character, having a high de John's College, Cambridge, which he was shortly gree of pride and self-conceit, with a disposition to obliged to quit from the scanty state of his finances. abuse and disparage every one who incurred his Ile then turned his thoughts to the stage, and jealousy or displeasure. Jonson was reduced applied for employment at the theatres; but his to necessitous circumstances in the latter part of talents, as an actor, could only procure for him his life, though he obtained from Charles I. an adadmission at an obscure playhouse in the suburbs.vance of his salary as laureate. He died in 1637, at Here he had the misfortune to kill a fellow-actor the age of 63, being at that time considered as at the in a duel, for which he was thrown into prison. head of English poetry. He was interred in WestThe state of mind to which he was here brought, minster Abbey, where an inscription was placed over gave the advantage to a Popish priest in converting his grave, familiarly expressive of the reputation him to the Catholic faith, under which religion he he had acquired among his countrymen: it was, continued for twelve years.

“O rare Ben Jonson." Six months after his death, After his liberation from prison, he married, and a collection of poems to his honor, by a number applied in earnest to writing for the stage, in which of the most eminent writers and scholars in the nahe appears to have already made several attempts. tion, was published, with the title of "Jonsonius His comedy of “Every Man in his Humor," the Virbius ; or the memory of Ben Jonson, revived by first of his acknowledged pieces, was performed with the Friends of the Muses.” applause in 1596; and henceforth he continued to Although, as a general poet, Jonson for the most furnish a play yearly, till his time was occupied by part merits the character of harsh, frigid, and tedious; the composition of the masques and other enter there are, however, some strains in which he appears tainments, by which the accession of James was with singular elegance, and may be placed in comcelebrated. Dryden, in his Essay on Dramatic petition with some of the most favored writers of Poetry, speaks of him as the “most learned and that class. judicious writer which any theatre ever had," and

2

TO WILLIAM CAMDEN.

2. I have been gathering wolves' hairs,

The mad-dogs' foam, and the adders' ears;
CAMDEN, most reverend head, to whom I owe

The spurgings of a dead-man's eyes,
All that I am in arts, all that I know-

And all since the evening-star did rise.
(How nothing's thai!) to whom my country owes
The great renown, and name wherewith she goes.
Than thee the age sees not that thing more grave,

3. I, last night, lay all alone
More high, more holy, that she more would crave.

O'the ground, to hear the mandrake groan;
What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in And pluck'd him up, though he grew full low;
things!

And, as I had done, the cock did crow.
What sight in searching the most antique springs !
What weight, and what authority in thy speech! 4. And I ha' been choosing out this skull,
Man scarce can make that doubt, but thou canst From charnel-houses, that were full;
teach.

From private grots, and public pits,
Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty,

And frighted a sexton out of his wits.
Which conquers all, be once o'ercome by thee.
Many of thine this better could, than I,

5. Under a cradle I did creep,
But for their powers, accept my piety.

By day; and, when the child was asleep,
At night, I suck'd the breath; and rose,
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

DAME

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast ;
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presum'd,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Yes, I have brought (to help our vows)
Horned poppy, cypress boughs,
The fig-tree wild, that grows on tombs,
And juice, that from the larch-tree comes,
The basilisk's blood, and the viper's skin:
And, now, our orgies let's begin.

[ocr errors]

EPITAPH
ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE, SIS

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
UNDERNEATH this marble herse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mothe
Death, ere thou hast slain anothe
Learn’d, and fair, and good as st
Time shall throw his dart at thee.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]

but his mother, through the interest of her friends, to France, and resumed his station as an agent in
who was a grocer by trade, died before his birth;
tinction, was born at London, in 1618. His father, from Oxford, in December, 1657.

ABRAHAM COWLEY, a poet of considerable dis-virtue of a degree which he obtained, by mandamus
procured his admission into Westminster school, the royal cause, the hopes of which now began to
so deficient in memory, as to have been unable to royalists, in his own country; and he naturally ex-
retain the common rules of grammar: it is, how-pected a reward for his long services. He had
ever, certain that, by some process, he became an been promised, both by Charles I. and Charles II.,
nate in his youthful mind, that, while yet at school, of displeasing his party, by his revived comedy of
imbibed a taste for poetry ; and so soon did it germi- in both his applications. He had also the misfortune
in his fifteenth or sixteenth year, he published a "The Cutter of Coleman-street,” which was con-
collection of verses, under the appropriate title of strued as a satire on the cavaliers. At length

He has represented himself as revive. The Restoration reinstated him, with other

correct classical scholar. He early the Mastership of the Savoy, but was unsuccessful
lege, Cambridge. In this favorable situation he ob- a farm at Chertsey, held under the queen, by which

In 1636 he was elected a scholar of Trinity col- and the Earl of St. Alban's, he obtained a lease of
tained much praise for his academical exercises ; his income was raised to about 3001. per annum.
and he again appeared as an author, in a pastoral From early youth a country retirement had been
comedy, called Love's Riddle, and a Latin comedy, a real or imaginary object of his wishes; and,
entitled, Naufragium Joculare ; the last of which though a late eminent critic and moralist, who had
was acted before the university, by the members himself no sensibility to rural pleasures, treats this

der the approssi-Mand for his long services. He had
of Trinity college. He continued to reside at Cam- taste with severity and ridicule, there seems little

rid.llege vula ho inity col- and the the interes the cavaliers. At
bridge till 1643, and was a Master of Arts when reason to decry a propensity, nourished by the fa-
he was ejected from the university by the puritani-vorite strains of poets, and natural to a mind long
cal visitors. He thence removed to Oxford, and tossed by the anxieties of business, and the vicissi-
fixed himself in St. John's college. It was here tudes of an unsettled condition.

werde) ed 8 acad. Situs
that he engaged actively in the royal cause, and

was present in several of the king's journeys and the banks of the Thames; but this place not agree-
expeditions, but in what quality, does not appear. ing with his health, he removed to Chertsey. Here
He ingratiated himself, however, with the principal his life was soon brought to a close. According to
persons about the court, and was paricularly hon-his biographer, Dr. Sprat, the fatal disease was an

abne. the Op ed. From ean. Was raised to
mother to quit the kingdom, Cowley accompanied Warton, however, from the authority of Mr. Spence,
When the events of the war obliged the queen- too late in the fields among his laborers. Dr.

lastCom hisi
her to France, and obtained a settlement at Paris, gives a different account of the matter.
in the family of the earl of St. Alban's. During an that Cowley, with his friend Sprat, paid a visit on

por l.2: la
absence of nearly ten years from his native coun- foot to a gentleman in the neighborhood of Cherta

the tonen
try, he took various journeys into Jersey, Scotland, sey, which they prolonged, in free conviviality,

This, however, was possibly the sum at which he in elegant simplicity
Who bailed him in the sum of thousand pounds. essays, there are few who can compare with

generous and learned physician, Dr. Scarborough, prose writer, particularly in the department
a search for another person, he was apprehended by has since vanished, there will remains enous
be published an edition of his poems, containing a cloud, NOT was the age qualified to taste

dium of secret intelligence. Soon after his arrival, as the first poel in England for Milton
der that, after the Restoration, he long complained minster-abbey, near the remains of Chance
letters, was intrusted to his care, and often occu- July 28, 1667, and was interred, with a most hos

abroad, he returned to England still, it is sup-better man behind him in England."

1656, having no longer any affairs to transact by declaring, that Pronounced his eulo
pied his nights, as well as his days. It is no wonorable attendance of persons of distinction, in W
was maintained between the king and his consort.hedge, which gave to the poet a severe cold

The business of ciphering and deciphering their fever, which terminated in his death He died
Holland, and Flanders and it was principally midnight, and that missing their way on their e.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »