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Among other topics of praise, his friendship and respect for our author are noticed :
" And next his admiration fix'd on thce,
Our Metropolitan in poetry,” &c. The second inclosure of sir Lucius is a poetical “ Epistle to his noble father Ben.” In this he gives the commencement of their acquaintance, in an elegant application to himself of the fable of the fox, who first feared the lion, then grew familiar with him, &c.
“ I thought you proud, for I did surely know,
Had I Ben Jonson been, I had been so :
Of ingenuity,* or ingine be more." and he adds a wish, which was probably accompanied with some token of his kindness :
“ I wish your wealth were equal to them both ;
You have deserv'd it: and I should be loth
To such a Zeno in philosophy.”
Not long after the return of sir Lucius Cary to England, their intimacy was still more closely cemented by his growing attachment to Letitia, the sister of sir Henry Morison, and the daughter of sir Richard Morison of Tooley Park, in Leicestershire, whom, to the displeasure of his father (for the lady had no fortune) he subsequently married. The amiable youth did not live to witness this event, which took place in 1630, when Lucius was in his twentieth ycar. " She was a lady” (lord Clarendon says) “ of a most extraordinary wit (sense) and judgment, and of the most signal virtue, and exemplary life, that the age produced, and who brought him many hopeful children in which he took great delight.”
The life and death of this most distinguished nobleman are familiar to every reader of English history. Lord Clarendon, who knew him well, having lived, as he says,
on terms of the most unreserved friendship with him from the age of twenty to the hour of his death,” has given in the History of the Rebellion,
* Of ingenuity.) i.e. of ingenuousness, candour, frankness: ingine (wit) is used in the large sense of genius and talents; the common acceptation of the word in that age.
a delineation of his character replete with grace, elegance, strength, and beauty, warm with truth, and glowing with genuine admiration; which yet does not go beyond what was said and thought of him by his contemporaries : and it is quite amusing to find Horace Walpole indulging a hope to counteract the effect of lord Clarendon's description, with a few miserable inuendos and captious quibbles, and persuade us that his friend was little better than a driveller. It is the frog of the fable, waddling after the lordly bull, with a view to efface the print of his footsteps.
Warburton says well in his letters to Hurd that “ Walpole (whom he terms a most insafferable coscomb) after reading Clarendon, would blush, if he had any sense of shame, for his abuse of lord Falkland." But Walpole had no sense of shame. He persecuted lord Falkland, as he did the gallant and highspirited duke of Newcastle, because he was loyal to his prince.
Walpole is particularly severe upon lord Falkland's poetry. Much need not be said of it :--but when it is considered that this illustrious nobleman always speaks of it himself with the greatest modesty, and that his little pieces are nothing more than occasional tributes of love and duty, the sneer of such an Aristarchus will not appear particularly well directed. It is true, that Walpole was only acquainted with the lines in the Jonsonus Virbius :—but had he known of those, which are now mentioned, for the first time, he would not have abated of his virulence; for he had adopted the opinion of his “ clawback,” Pinkerton, respecting Jonson, and any additional praise of him would therefore only call forth additional abuse of the writer.
There is another part of lord Falkland's character particularly obnoxious to the critic. “ He (lord Falkland) had naturally," (lord Clarendon says, in the History of his own Life)" such a generosity and bounty in him, that he seemed to bare his estate in trust for all worthy persons who stood in want of supplies and encouragement, as Ben Jonson and others of that time, whose fortunes required, and whose spirits made them superior to ordinary obligations." Walpole, who never bestowed a sixpence on any worthy object or person, and who conti. nued, to extreme old age, to fumble with his gold, till his fingers, like those of Midas, grew encrusted with it, must have been greatly scandalized at this, and probably drew from it his shrewd conclusion that lord Falkland“ had much debility of mind.” To have done with this calumniator of true patriotism, loyalty and virtue—though gorged to the throat with sinecures, he was always railing at corruption, and indulging, with the low scribblers whose flattery he purchased with praise, (for be gave nothing else, except the hope of a legacy, which he never intended to realize) in splenetic sneers at kings and courtiers : he called himself a republican, and uttered many grierous complaints of the loss of liberty, &c., and yet went crying out of the world because the French were putting his hopeful maxims of reform into practice.
A Pindaric Ode, &c.] In the edition of 1640, in 12mo. this poem is called A Pindaric Ode ; a title left out in all subsequent editions, and which I have now restored. For this ode is a true and regular Pindaric, and the first in our language, that hath a just claim to that title. Jonson was perfectly acquainted with the manner of Pindar, and hath followed it with great exactness in the structure of this poem. The terms of art, denoted by the turn, the counter-turn, and the stand, are a translation of the strophe, the antistrophe, and epode, which divided the Greek odes. The English reader may possibly be desirous to have them more particularly explained; what I have to say therefore on this point, I shall take the liberty to borrow from the learned Mr. West's preface to his elegant translation of the Odes of Pindar. It is chiedy built upon a passage in the Scholia on He. phæstior. “ The ancients, says the scholiast, in their odes framed two larger stanzas, and one less : the first of the largo stanzas they called strophè, singing it on their festivals at the altars of their gods, and dancing at the same time. The second they called antistrophè, in which they inverted the dance : the Jesser_stanza was named the epode, which they sung standing still. From this passage, (continues Mr. West,) it appears evident, that these odes were accompanied with dancing, and that they danced one way while the strophe was singing, and then danced back again while the antistrophè was sung : which shews why these two parts consisted of the same length and measure: then when the dancers were returned to the place whence they set out, before they renewed the dance, they stood still while the epode was sung. Such was the structure of the Greek ode, in which the strophè and antistrophè, i. e. the first and second stanzas, contained always the same number, and the same kind of verses : the cpode was of a different length and measure: and if the ode ran out into any length, it was always divided into triplets of stanzas; the two first being constantly of the same
On this point Mr. Pinkerton is peculiarly affecting, in the Preface to his Walpoliana.
length and measure; and all the epodes in like manner corre. sponding exactly with each other : from all which the regu. larity of this kind of compositions is sufficiently evident." Thus far this ingenious gentleman. There is one remark, however, to be made upon the scholiast of Hephæstion; who supposeth the epode to be always the lesser stanza, or to contain fewer verses than either the strophè or antistrophè: but this is not true in fact: the epodes of Pindar are various ; some of them fall short of the strophè, some have an equal number of verses, and others again exceed it : and Jonson hath made his stand to be longer than the turn or counter-turn, by the addition of a couplet. The reader will, I hope, excuse the prolixity of this. note; I have been the more exact in explaining the true nature of the Pindaric ode, as the poem before us does honour to Jonson's learning and knowledge in ancient criticism, and as the idea we have formed from compositions of this kind, by many modern poets, gives us but a very distorted likeness of the great original: a much better copy was taken by our author, than what appears in those collections of lines of all lengths and sizes, which have been passed upon the world as translations or imitations of Pindar. WuAL.
I agree with Whalley. Nothing but ignorance of the existence of this noble Ode can excuse the critics, from Dryden downwards, for attributing the introduction of the Pindaric Ode into our language to Cowley. Cowley mistook the very nature of Pindar's poetry, at least of such as is come down to us, and while he professed to “imitate the style and manner of his Odes,” was led away by the ancient allusions to those wild and wonderful strains of which not a line has reached us. The metre of Pindar is regular, that of Cowley is utterly lawless; and his perpetual straining after points of wit, seems to shew that he had formed no correcter notion of his manner than of his style. It is far worse when he leaves his author, and sets up for a Pindaric writer on his own account:-but I am not about to criticize Cowley
In Jonson's Ode we have the very soul of Pindar. His artful but unlaboured plan, his regular returns of metre, his interestin pathos, his losty morality, his sacred tone of feeling occasionally enlivened by apt digression, or splendid illustration. To be short, there have been Odes more sublime, Odes far more poetical than this before us, but none that in Cowley's words, so successfully copy the style and manner of the Odes of Pindar.” As Jonson was his first, so is he his best, imitator.
A PINDARIC ODE
ON THE DEATH OF SIR H. Morison.
Brave infant of Saguntum, clear
Thou looking then about,
Ere thou wert half got out, Wise child, didst hastily return,
And mad'st thy mother's womb thine urn. How summ'd a circle didst thou leave mankind Of deepest lore, could we the centre find !
Brave infant of Saguntum, clear
Thy coming forth, &c.] Saguntum was a city of Spain, memorable for its fidelity to the Romans, and the miseries it underwent when besieged by Hannibal. It was at last taken by storm; but the inhabitants, who before had suffered all extre. mities, committed themselves and their effects to the flames, rather than fall into the hands of their enemy. The story to which Jonson here refers, is thus told by Pliny; Est inter exempla, in uterum protinus reversus infans Sagunti, quo anno ab Annibale deleta est. L. 7. c. 3. WHAL.
It ought to be observed that the word Pindaric was not prefixed by Jonson: in the Museum MS. the poem is simply called 66 An Ode on the death of sir H. Morison."