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Floats like a dead-drown'd body, on the stream
Of vulgar humour, mix'd with common'st dregs:
I suffer for their guilt now; and my

(Like one that looks on ill-affected eyes)
Is hurt with mere intention on their follies.
Why will I view them then? my sense might ask me:
Or is't a rarity or some new object
That strains my strict observance to this point:
But such is the perverseness of our nature,
That if we once but fancy levity,
(How antic and ridiculous soever
It suit with us) yet will our muffled thought
Chuse rather not to see it than avoid it, &c."

Ben Jonson had self-knowledge and self-reflection enough to apply this to himself. His tenaciousness on the score of critical objections does not prove that he was not conscious of them himself, but the contrary. The greatest egotists are those whom it is impossible to offend, because they are wholly and incurably blind to their own defects; or if they could be made to see them, would instantly convert them into so many beauty-spots and ornamental graces. Ben Jonson's fugitive and lighter pieces are not devoid of the characteristic merits of that class of composition; but still often in the happiest of them, there is a specific gravity in the author's pen, that sinks him to the bottom of his subject, though buoyed up for a time with art and painted plumes, and produces a strange mixture of the mechanical and fanciful, of poetry and prose, in his songs and odes. For instance, one of his most airy effusions is the Triumph of his Mistress : yet there are some lines in it that seem inserted almost by way of burlesque. It is however well worth repeating.

“ See the chariot at hand here of love,

Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws it is a swan or a dove ;
And well the car love guideth!
As she goes'all hearts do duty

Unto her beauty:
And enamour'd, do wish so they might

But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
Do but look on her eyes, they do light

All that love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother

Than words that soothe her:
And from her arch'd brows, such a grace

Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good of the elements' strife.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touch'd it?

mark'd but the fall of the snow
Before the soil hath smutch'd it ?

you felt the wool of beaver ? Or swan's down ever?

Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
Oh, so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she !"

His Discourse with Cupid, which follows, is infinitely delicate and piquant, and without one single blemish. It is a perfect“ nest of spicery.”

• Noblest Charis, you that are

Both my fortune and my star!
And do govern more my blood,
Than the various moon the flood!
Hear, what late discourse of you,
Love and I have had ; and true.
'Mongst my Muses finding me,
Where he chanc't your name to see
Set, and to this softer strain;
“ Sure," said he, “ if I have brain,
This here sung can be no other,
By description, but my mother!
So liath Homer prais'd her hair ;
So Anacreon drawn the air
Of her face, and made to rise,
Just about her sparkling eyes,
Both her brows, bent like my bow.
By her looks I do her know,


shafts. And see !

mother's blushes be,
As the bath your verse discloses
In her cheeks, of milk and roses ;
Such as oft I wanton in.
And, above her even chin,
Have you plac'd the bank of kisses,
Where you say, men gather blisses,


Rip'ued with a breath more sweet,
Than when flowers and west-winds meet.
Nay, her white and polish'd neck,
With the lace that doth it deck,
Is my mother's! hearts of slain
Lovers, made into a chain !
And between each rising breast
Lies the valley, callid my nest,
Where I sit and proyne my wings
After Alight; and put new stings
To my shafts ! Her very name
With my mother's is the same.”-
“ I confess all," I replied,
“ And the glass hangs by lier side,
And the girdle 'bout her waste,
All is Venus: save unchaste.
But, alas ! thou seest the least
Of her good, who is the best
Of her sex ; but could'st thou, Love,
Call to mind the forms, that strove
For the apple, and those three
Make in one, the same were she.
For this beauty yet doth hide
Something more than thou hast spied.
Outward grace weak love beguiles :
She is Venus when she smiles,
But she's Juno when she walks,
And Minerva when she talks.”

In one of the songs in Cynthia's Revels, we find, amidst some very pleasing imagery, the origin of a celebrated line in modern poetry

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, &c."

This has not even the merit of originality, which is hard upon it. Ben Jonson had said two hundred years before,

“Oh, I could still
(Like melting snow upon some craggy hill)

Drop, drop, drop, drop,
Since nature's pride is now a wither'd daffodil."

His Ode to the Memory of Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morrison, has been much admired, but I cannot but think it one of his most fantastical and perverse performances.

I cannot, for instance, reconcile myself such stanzas as these.


- of which we priests and poets say

Such truths as we expect for happy men,
And there he lives with memory; and Ben

Jonson, who


this of him, ere be went Himself to rest, Or taste a part of that full joy he meant To have exprest, In this bright asterism; Where it were friendship's schism (Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry) To separate these twiLights, the Dioscori; And keep the one half from his Harry. But fate doth so alternate the design, While that in Heaven, this light on earth doth sbine.”

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