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Grief doth my brain impair, as tears supply,
Which makes my face so moist, my pen so dry.
Nor should this work proceed from woods and
But from the academies, courts, and towns;
Let Digby, Carew, Killigrew, and Maine,
Godolphin, Waller, that inspired train,
Or whose rare pen beside deserves the grace,
Or of an equal, or a neighbouring place,
Answer thy wish, for none so fit appears,
To raise his tomb, as who are left his heirs:
Yet for this cause no labour need be spent,
Writing his works, he built his monument.
Mel. If to obey in this, thy pen be loth,
It will not seem thy weakness, but thy sloth:
Our towns prest by our foes invading might,
Our ancient druids and young virgins fight,
Employing feeble limbs to the best use;
So JONSON dead, no pen should plead excuse.
For Elegies, howl all who cannot sing,
For tombs bring turf, who cannot marble bring,
Let all their forces mix, join verse to rhyme,
To save his fame from that invader, Time;
Whose power, though his alone may well restrain,
Yet to so wish'd an end, no care is vain;
And time, like what our brooks act in our sight,
Oft sinks the weighty, and upholds the light.
Besides, to this, thy pains I strive to move
Less to express his glory than thy love:
Not long before his death, our woods he meant
To visit, and descend from Thames to Trent,
Mete with thy elegy his pastoral,
And rise as much as he vouchsafed to fall.
Suppose it chance no other pen do join
In this attempt, and the whole work be thine?-
When the fierce fire the rash boy kindled, reign'd,
The whole world suffer'd; earth alone complain'd.
Suppose that many more intend the same,
More taught by art, and better known to fame?
To that great deluge which so far destroy'd,
The earth her springs, as heaven his showers
So may who highest marks of honour wears,
Admit mean partners in this flood of tears;
So oft the humblest join with loftiest things,
Nor only princes weep the fate of kings.
Hyl. I yield, I yield, thy words my thoughts have fired,
And I am less persuaded than inspired;
Speech shall give sorrow vent, and that relief,
The woods shall echo all the city's grief:
I oft have verse on meaner subjects made,
Should I give presents and leave debts unpaid?
Want of invention here is no excuse,
My matter I shall find, and not produce,
And (as it fares in crowds) I only doubt,
So much would pass, that nothing will get out,
Else in this work which now my thoughts intend
I shall find nothing hard, but how to end:
I then but ask fit time to smooth my lays,
(And imitate in this the pen I praise)
Which by the subject's power embalm'd, may last,
Whilst the sun light, the earth doth shadows cast,
And, feather'd by those wings, fly among men,
Far as the fame of poetry and BEN.
2 With the success usually attendant upon his endeavours to philosophize, Horace Walpole has laboured to depreciate the character of this amiable and high-spirited man, who joined with the popular party in resisting royalty, till he discovered that their aims were directed not against the encroachments of prerogative, but against the crown itself. He then took up arms for the king and bravely fell at the fatal battle of Newbury the 20th September, 1643. GILCHRIST. See p. 6. of this volume.
IF Romulus did promise in the fight,
To Jove the Stator, if he held from flight
His men, a temple, and perform'd his vow:
Why should not we, learn'd JONSON, thee allow
An altar at the least? since by thy aid,
Learning, that would have left us, has been stay'd.
The actions were different: that thing
Requir'd some mark to keep't from perishing;
But letters must be quite defaced, before
Thy memory, whose care did them restore.
HIM WHO CAN NEVER BE FORGOTTEN,
HAD this been for some meaner poet's herse,
I might have then observ'd the laws of verse:
But here they fail, nor can I hope to express
In numbers, what the world grants numberless;
3 Richard Sackville lord Buckhurst, son of Edward earl of Dorset, by Mary, daughter and heir of sir George Curson of Croxall in Derbyshire, married Frances daughter and heir to Lionel earl of Middlesex, by whom he had three sons and three daughters. He succeeded his father as earl of Dorset in 1652, and dying in 1677 was succeeded by his son Charles the poet. GILCHRIST.
Such are the truths, we ought to speak of thee, Thou great refiner of our poesy,
Who turn'st to gold that which before was lead;
Then with that pure elixir rais'd the dead!
Nine sisters who (for all the poets lies)
Had been deem'd mortal, did not JONSON rise
And with celestial sparks (not stoln) revive
Those who could erst keep winged fame alive:
'Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
Dull grinning ignorance, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
And point the man, that did such treasure owe:
So that who could in JONSON's lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But vice he only shewed us in a glass,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the figure lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like decorum, when
He whipt the vices, and yet spar'd the men:
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present age.
Nor was our English language, only bound
To thank him, for he Latin Horace found
(Who so inspired Rome, with his lyric song)
Translated in the macaronic tongue;
Cloth'd in such rags, as one might safely vow,
That his Mecenas would not own him now:
On him he took this pity, as to clothe
In words, and such expression, as for both,
There's none but judgeth the exchange will come
To twenty more, than when he sold at Rome.
Since then, he made our language pure and good,
And us to speak, but what we understood,
We owe this praise to him, that should we join
To pay him, he were paid but with the coin
Himself hath minted, which we know by this,
That no words pass for current now, but his.
And though he in a blinder age could change
Faults to perfections, yet 'twas far more strange
To see (however times, and fashions frame)
His wit and language still remain the same
In all men's mouths; grave preachers did it use
As golden pills, by which they might infuse
Their heavenly physic; ministers of state
Their grave dispatches in his language wrate;
Ladies made curt'sies in them, courtiers, legs,
Physicians bills;-perhaps, some pedant begs
He may not use it, for he hears 'tis such,
As in few words a man may utter much.
Could I have spoken in his language too,
I had not said so much, as now I do,
To whose clear memory I this tribute send,
Who dead 's my Wonder, living was my Friend.
JOHN BEAUMONT, Bart.*
The family of Beaumont boasts a royal descent; there is a letter of king John's to one of the Beaumonts, preserved in Rymer's Fœdera, acknowledging the consanguinity. The baronet before us was the eldest son of the author of " Bosworth field," and other poems: he was born at Grace-dieu in Leicestershire in 1607. In the rebellion, which followed hard upon the composition of this poem, sir John Beaumont took up arms, obtained a colonel's commission, and was slain at the siege of Gloucester, 1644. GILCHRIST.