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We shall now proceed to make a few extracts from Jonson's Conversations :
“ HIS CENSURE OF THE ENGLISH POETS WAS This:
“ That Sidney did not keep a decorum in making every one speak as well as himself.
Spenser's stanzaes pleased him not, nor his matter; the meaning of which Allegorie he had delivered in papers to Sir Walter Raughlie.
“ Samuel Daniel was a good honest man, had no children; but no poet. “ That Michael Drayton's Polyolbion, if she had performed what he promised to writte (the deeds of all the Worthies) had been excellent: His long verses pleased him not.
“That Silvester's translation of Du Bartas was not well done; and that he wrote his verses before it, ere he understood to conferr: Nor that of Fairfax his.
“That the translations of Homer and Virgill in long Alexandrines were
“That (Sir] John Harington's Ariosto, under all translations, was the worst. That when Sir John Harrington desyred him to tell the truth of his Epigrames, he answered him, that he loved not the truth, for they were Narrations, and not Epigrames.
“That Warner, since the King's comming to England, had marred all his Albion's England.
“ That Done's Anniversarie was profane and full of blasphemies: that he told Mr. Done, if it had been written of the Virgin Marie it had been something; to which he answered, that he described the Idea of a Woman, and not as she was. That Done, for not keeping of accent, deserved hanging.
“That Shakspeer wanted arte.
“That Sharpham, Day, Dicker, were all rogues; and that Minshew was one.
“That Abram Francis, in his English Hexameters, was a foole. “That next himself, only Fletcher and Chapman could make a Mask.”
This certainly rather justifies the accusation made against Ben of carping and being envious.
“His JUDGEMENT OF STRANGER POETS WAS:
" That he thought not Bartas a Poet, but a Verser, because he wrote not fiction.
“He cursed Petrarch for redacting verses to Sonnets; which he said were like that Tirrant's bed, wher some who where too short were racked, others too long cut short.
“ That Guarini, in his Pastor Fido, keept not decorum, in making Shepherds speek as well as himself could.
“That Lucan, taken in parts, was good divided; read altogidder, merited not the name of a Poet.
“That Bonefonius Vigilium Veneris was excellent.
“That he told Cardinal de Perron, at his being in France, anno 1613, who shew him his translations of Virgill, that they were naught.
“ All this was to no purpose, for he [Jonson] neither doeth understand French nor Italiannes.”
The following instances also give us no very great idea of his amiability, how different from“ the gentle Shakespeare.” But not that
not love old Ben. With all his violence, he was ght out a thorough man, body and mind.
“ HIS ACQUAINTANCE AND BEHAVIOUR WITH POETS LIVING WITH HIM . “ Daniel was at jealousies with him.
“ Drayton feared him; and he esteemed not of him.
“ That Sir John Roe loved bim; and when they two were ushered by my Lord Suffolk from a Mask, Roe wrott a moral Epistle to him, which began, That next to playes, the Court and the State were the best. God threateneth Kings, Kings Lords, [as] Lords do us.
“He beat Marston, and took his pistoll from him.
“Sir W. Alexander was not half kinde unto him, and neglected him because a friend to Drayton.
“That Sir R. Aiton loved him dearly. “Nid Field was his schollar, and he had read to him the Satyres of Horace, and some Epigrames of Martiall.
" That Markam (who added his English Arcadia) was not of the number of the Faithfull, i.[e.] Poets, and but a base fellow.
“That such were Day and Midleton.
OTHER POETS; AND “That the Irish having rob’d Spenser's goods, and burnt his house and a litle child new born, he and his wyfe escaped ; and after, he died for lake of bread in King Street, and refused 20 pieces sent to him by my Lord of Essex, and said, He was sorrie he had no time to spend them. That in that paper S. W. Raughly had of the Allegories of his Fayrie Queen, by the Blating Beast the Puritans were understood, by the false Duessa the Q. of Scots,
“That Southwell was hanged; yet so he had written that piece of his, the Burning Babe, he would have been content to destroy many of his.
“ Francis Beaumont died ere he was 30 years of age.
“Sir John Roe was ane infinit spender, and used to say, when he had no more to spende he could die. He died in his armes of the pest, and be [Jonson) furnished his charges 20 lb. ; which was given him back.
“That Drayton was chalenged for intitling one book Mortimeriados.
“That S. J. Davies played in ane Epigrame on Draton's, who, in a sonnet, concluded his Mistriss might [have] been the Ninth Worthy; and said, he used a phrase like Dametas in Arcadia, who said, For wit his Mistresse might be a gyant.
“ Done's grandfather, on the mother side, was Heywood the Epigramatist. That Done himself, for not being understood, would perish.
“That Sir W. Raughley esteemed more of fame than conscience. The best wits of England were employed for making his Historie. Ben himself had written a piece to him of the Punick warre, which he altered and set in his booke.
“S. W. heth written the lyfe of Queen Elizabeth, of which ther is [are] copies extant.
“ Sir P. Sidney had translated some of the Psalmes, which went abroad under the name of the Countesse of Pembrock.
“Marston wrott his Father-in-lawes preachings, and his Father-in-law his Commedies.
“Sheakspear, in a play, brought in a number of men saying they had suffered shipwrack in Bohemia, wher ther is no sea neer by some 100 miles.
“Daniel wrott Civill Warres, and yett hath not one batle in all his book.
“The Countess of Rutland was nothing inferior to her father Sir P. Sidney in poesie. Sir Th: Overburie was in love with her, and caused Ben to read his Wyffe to her, which he, with ane excellent grace, did, and praised the author. That the morne thereafter he discorded with Overburie, who would have him to intend a sute that was unlawful. The lines my Lady keep'd in remembrance, He comes to[o] near who comes to be denied. Beaumont wrot that Elegie on the death of the Countess of Rutland; and in effect her husband wanted the half of his. [sic in MS.) in his travells.
“Owen is a pure pedantique schoolmaster, sweeping his living from the posteriors of litle children; and hath no thinge good in him, his Epigrames being bare narrations.
“ Chapman hath translated Musaeus, in his verses, like his Homer. “ Flesher and Beaumont, ten yeers since, hath written the Faithfull Shipheardesse, a Tragicomedie, well done.
“Dyer died unmarried.
“Sir P. Sidney was no pleasant man in countenance, his face being spoilled with pimples, and of high blood, and long : that my Lord Lisle, now Earle of Wor[ce]ster, his eldest son, resembleth him.”
The following particulars of himself are highly interesting, and the candour is as much to be admired as his sad annoyances are to be lamented.
“Or his OWNE LYFE, EDUCATION, BIRTH, ACTIONS.
“His Grandfather came from Carlisle, and, he thought, from Anandale to it: he served King Henry 8, and was a gentleman. His Father losed all his estate under Queen Marie, having been cast in prisson and forfaitted ; at last turn'd Minister: so he was a minister's son. He himself was posthumous born, a moneth after his father's decease; brought up poorly, putt to school by a friend (his master Cambden); after taken from it, and put to ane other craft (I think was to be a wright or bricklayer), which he could not endure; then went he to the Low Countries; but returning soone he betook himself to his wonted studies. In bis service in the Low Countries, he had, in the face of both the campes, killed ane enemie and taken opima spolia from him; and since his comming to England, being appealed to the fields, he had killed his adversarie, which (who] had hurt him in the arme, and whose sword was 10 inches longer than his; for the which he was emprissoned, and almost at the gallowes. Then took he his religion by trust, of a priest who visited him in prisson. Thereafter he was 12 yeares a Papist.
“He was Master of Arts in both the Universities, by their favour, not his studie.
" He maried a wyfe who was a shrew, yet honest: 5 yeers he had not bedded with her, but remayned with my Lord Aulbanie.
“ In the tyme of bis close imprisonment, under Queen Elizabeth, his judges could get nothing of him to all their demands but I and No. They placed two damn’d villains to catch advantage of him, with him, but he was advertised by his keeper : of the Spies he hath ane epigrame.
“When the King came in England at that tyme the pest was in London, he being in the country at Sir Robert Cotton's house with old Cambden, he saw in a vision his eldest sone, then a child and at London, appear unto him with the mark of a bloodie crosse on his forehead, as if it had been cutted with a suord, at which amazed he prayed unto God, and in the morning he came to Mr. Cambden's chamber to tell him; who persuaded him it was but ane apprehension of his fantasie, at which he sould not be disjected; in the mean tyme comes there letters from his wife of the death of that boy in the plague. He appeared to him (he said) of a manlie shape, and of that grouth that he thinks he shall be at the resurrection.
" He was dilated by Sir James Murray to the King, for writing something against the Scots, in a play Eastward Hoe, and voluntarly imprissonned himself with Chapman and Marston, who had written it amongst them. The report was, that they should then [have) had their ears cut and noses. After their delivery, he banqueted all his friends ; there was Camden, Selden, and others; at the midst of the feast his old Mother dranke to him, and shew him a paper which she had (if the sentence had taken execution) to have mixed in the prisson among his drinke, which was full of lustie strong poison, and that she was no churle, she told, she minded first to have drunk of it herself.
“He had many quarrells with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his Poetaster on him; the beginning of them were, that Marston represented him in the stage, in his youth given to venerie.
“S. W. Raulighe sent him governour with his Son, anno 1613, to France. This youth being knavishly inclyned, among other pastimes, caused him to be drunken, and dead drunk, so that he knew not wher he was, therafter laid him on a carr, which he made to be drawen by pioners through the streets, at every corner showing his governour streetched out, and telling them, that was a more lively image of the Crucifix then any they had: at which sport young Raughlie's mother delyghted much (saying, his father young was so inclyned), though the Father abhorred it.
“He can set horoscopes, but trusts not in them. He with the consent of a friend cousened a lady, with whom he had made ane apointment to meet ane old Astrologer, in the suburbs, which she keeped; and it was himself disguysed in a longe gowne and a whyte beard at the light of dimm burning candles, up in a little cabinet reached unto by a ledder.
“ Every first day of the new year he had 20lb. sent him from the Earl of Pembrok to buy bookes.
“After he was reconciled with the Church, and left of to be a recusant, at his first communion, in token of true reconciliation, he drank out all the full cup of wyne.
“Being at the end of my Lord Salisburie's table with Inigo Jones, and demanded by my Lord, Why he was not glad? My Lord, said he, yow promised I should dine with yow, bot I doe not, for he had none of his meate ; he esteemed only that his meate which was of his own dish.
“ He heth consumed a whole night in lying looking to his great toe, about which he hath seen Tartars and Turks, Romans and Carthaginians, feight in his imagination.
"Northampton was his mortall enimie for beating, on a St. George's day, one of his attenders: He was called before the Councell for his Sejanus, and accused both of poperie and treason by him.
“Sundry tymes he hath devoured his bookes, i. [e.] sold them all for necessity.
“He heth a minde to be a churchman, and so he might have favour to make one sermon to the King, he careth not what therafter sould befall him: for he would not flatter though he saw Death.
" At his hither comming, SFrancis Bacon said to him, He loved not to sie Poesy goe on other feet than poeticall Dactylus and Spondaeus.”
There is a large collection of facetiæ, which, like that given of many other wits, seems to bear no comparison to the great reputation of their author.
We have given quite enough to make the reader desire the possession of the book. There is a large mass of notes and other matter of a most interesting kind, which we can do no more than refer the reader to.
Of the numerous pieces of poetry interspersed, we can only give the following beautiful verses by Sir Henry Wotton :
“How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will?
And simple truth his utmost skill?
Whose passions not bis masters are,
Whose soul is still prepared for death;
Of publick fame, or private breath.
Of hopes to rise, or fear to fall :
And having nothing, yet hath all.”
A SECOND SERIES OF LAYS AND LEGENDS.
BY WILLIAM J. THOMS.
PREFACE, PROEM, OR WHAT-YOU-WILL. The time was, and that but a few years since, when some apology would have been required from the adventurous book-wights who presumed to call the attention of the public to matters apparently so much beneath their dignity as Popular Lays and Legends. That time, however, has passed away: we are, at least in this respect, somewhat wiser than our immediate predecessors; and both abroad and at home this important portion of the literature of the people has of late years not only contributed to the amusement of the general reader, but attracted the attention of the antiquary, and furnished employment to the historian and the philosopher,
While the brothers Grimm, Ferdinand Wolf, Thiele, Bechstein, Pluquet, Le Roux de Lincy, and others on the Continent have collected and illustrated with abundant learning the legendary stores of their respective nations; in England, Crofton Croker, Keightley, and though last, not least, my lamented friend the late Edgar Taylor, have applied themselves with equal success to till the same rich field, and at once amuse their readers, and illustrate that curious subject, the Philosophy of Popular Fictions.
It was the good fortune of the writer of this paper, some years since, to wander in the same pleasant paths, culling some of those wild and richly varied blossoms which deck the fair fields of Romance. His adventures in the “pleasant land of Faëry" he laid before the public from time to time, in a series of little tomes (“ pet books" as L. E. L. kindly pronounced them), which, it is hoped, at least amused those who read them, while they repaid their author a hundred-fold for the labour spent in their production, by procuring him the friendship and esteem of many accomplished scholars.
That series having been interrupted before one tithe of my materials
* Let me add, though only in a note, that one of the objects which induced me in the first instance to publish the “ Lays and Legends of Various Nations," was the hope that I might thereby increase my materials for a work on the “ Traditions of England,'' for which I had been for some time, as I still am, collecting materials.