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TO MY LOVED FRIEND, MASTER JOHN FLETCHER, ON

HIS PASTORAL.

Can my approvement, sir, be worth your thanks,
Whose unknown name, and muse in swathing clouts,
Is not yet grown to strength, among these ranks
To have a room, and bear off the sharp flouts
Of this our pregnant age, that does despise
All innocent verse that lets alone her vice ?

5

1ο

But I must justify what privately
I censured to you: my ambition is-
Even by my hopes and love to poesy-
To live to perfect such a work as this,
Clad in such elegant propriety
Of words, including a morality
So sweet and profitable ; though each man that hears,
And learning has enough to clap and hiss,
Arrives not to't, so misty it appears,
And to their filmèd reasons so amiss :
But let Art look in Truth, she like a mirror
Reflects her comfort ; Ignorance's terror

15

QI

PREFATORY MATTER. The order of the commendatory verses, etc., in the
different editions is as follows :-

Q2
Q3, etc.

F
Field
Field
Beaumont

(at the end of the
Beaumont
Beaumont Field

play)
Jonson
Jonson
Jonson

Beaumont
Chapman
Chapman Chapman

Jonson
Marmion

Dialogue
Aston

Dialogue
Skipworth
Townshend
Preface

Verses by Field, in Qq.
Heading. Master) So Dyce. M. Qı, 2. M". Q3, etc.
8 censured] i. e. expressed as my judgement.

n

20

Sits in her own brow, being made afraid
Of her unnatural complexion,
As ugly women, when they are array'd
By glasses, loathe their true reflection.
Thus how can such opinions injure thee,
That tremble at their own deformity ?
Opinion, that great fool, makes fools of all,
And once I fear'd her, till I met a mind
Whose grave instructions philosophical
Toss'd it like dust upon a March strong wind :
He shall for ever my example be,
And his embraced doctrine grow in me.

25

30

His soul—and such commend this—that commands
Such art, it should me better satisfy,
Than if the monster clapt his thousand hands,
And drown'd the scene with his confusèd cry;
And if doubts rise, lo, their own names to clear 'em ! 35
Whilst I am happy but to stand so near 'em.

NATHAN FIELD.

31 com

mmands] So Q3, etc., Dyce. commaund QI, 2. Dyce explains, and such souls as his do commend this poem.' But if these words are taken as a parenthesis, what is the construction of the next line? I suggest 'If the play be commended by such as in their souls understand such art'-taking and as an'—but this is very forced, and I leave the text as Dyce printed it.

36] ‘In reference to the ensuing poems.' Weber. Signature. Nathan Field] N. F. Qi. Nath. Field Q2, etc. Nathaniel Fielă Dyce. But the above seems to be the best authenticated form of the

Field was one of the first actors of his time. Born in 1587 he belonged to the children of the Chapel Royal in 1600-1, with whom he acted in Jonson's Cynthia's Revels and Poetaster. In 1610 we find him with the company of the Queen's Revels, in 1613 with Lady Elizabeth's men, and 1616-8 among the King's men. He wrote two plays, A Woman is a Weathercock (1612) and Amends for Ladies (1618), collaborated with Massinger on the Fatal Dowry (1632), and possibly other extant plays, and died in 1633. His portrait is at Dulwich. He very likely acted in the present play.

name.

TO MY FRIEND, MASTER JOHN FLETCHER, UPON HIS

FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS.'

5

10

I KNOW too well that, no more than the man
That travels through the burning deserts can,
When he is beaten with the raging sun,
Half smother'd with the dust, have power to run
From a cool river, which himself doth find,
Ere he be slaked; no more can he whose mind
Joys in the muses hold from that delight,
When nature and his full thoughts bid him write :
Yet wish I those, whom I for friends have known,
To sing their thoughts to no ears but their own.
Why should the man, whose wit ne'er had a stain,
Upon the public stage present his vein,
And make a thousand men in judgement sit,
To call in question his undoubted wit,
Scarce two of which can understand the laws
Which they should judge by, nor the party's cause ?
Among the rout there is not one that hath
In his own censure an explicit faith :
One company, knowing they judgement lack,
Ground their belief on the next man in black ;
Others, on him that makes signs and is mute;
Some like, as he does in the fairest suit;
He, as his mistress doth; and she, by chance ;
Nor wants there those who, as the boy doth dance

15

20

Verses by Beaumont, in Qq and F.
18 censure) i. e. judgement, as always.

20 man in black] the habit of dressing in black, a fashion which had passed from Spain to Italy, would indicate a travelled man.

21] The efficiency of this procedure, as calculated to impress the company with the profound judgement of the person who practises it, is constantly emphasized by Jonson; e. g. 'when any thing's propounded aboue your capacitie, smile at it, make two or three faces, and 'tis excellent, they'le thinke you haue trauail'd: though you argue, a whole day, in silence thus, & discourse in pothing but laughter, 'twill passe' (Every Man out of his Humour, III. vi. folio 1616, p. 129).

24 wants] So Qq. want F, Dyce.

24-5) Music, dancing and other diversions were often introduced between the acts, as well as a so-called jig at the end, of Elizabethan plays.

Between the acts, will censure the whole play ;

25 Some like, if the wax-lights be new that day; But multitudes there are whose judgement goes Headlong according to the actors' clothes. For this, these public things and I agree So ill, that, but to do aright to thee,

30 I had not been persuaded to have hurl'd These few ill-spoken lines into the world, Both to be read and censured of by those Whose very reading makes verse senseless prose; Such as must spend above an hour to spell

35 A challenge on a post, to know it well. But since it was thy hap to throw away Much wit, for which the people did not pay, Because they saw it not, I not dislike This second publication, which may strike

40 Their consciences, to see the thing they scorn'd, To be with so much wit and art adorn'd. Besides, one vantage more in this I see : Your censurers must have the quality Of reading, which I am afraid is more

45 Than half your shrewdest judges had before.

FRANCIS BEAUMONT.

TO THE WORTHY AUTHOR, MASTER JOHN FLETCHER.

THE wise and many-headed bench, that sits
Upon the life and death of plays and wits-
Composed of gamester, captain, knight, knight's man,

26] This would seem to suggest, what we might on general grounds have conjectured, that the play was performed at one of the so-called private houses, which were roofed and lit by artificial light. If, as seems likely, the play was acted by the company of the Queen's Revels, the place of performance was either the Blackfriars or Whitefriars house (see Introd.).

27 judgement] So Q4, etc., Dyce. judgements Q1-3.
30 aright] See Q1, 2. a right Q3, etc., Dyce.
Signature. Francis] So Dyce. Fr. Qq and F.
Verses by Jonson, in Qq and F.
Heading. Master] So Dyce. M. Qı, 2. Mr. Q3, etc.

5

Lady or pusill that wears mask or fan,
Velvet or taffata cap, rank'd in the dark
With the shop's foreman, or some such brave spark,
That may judge for his sixpence—had, before
They saw it half, damn'd thy whole play and more :
Their motives were, since it had not to do
With vices, which they look'd for and came to.

1ο
I, that am glad thy innocence was thy guilt,
And wish that all the muses' blood were spilt
In such a martyrdom, to vex their eyes
Do crown thy murder'd poem, which shall rise
A glorified work to time, when fire

15 Or moths shall eat what all these fools admire.

BEN JONSON.

TO HIS LOVING FRIEND, MASTER JOHN FLETCHER,

CONCERNING HIS PASTORAL, BEING

BOTH A POEM AND A PLAY.

THERE are no sureties, good friend, will be taken
For works that vulgar good-name hath forsaken:
A poem and a play too! why, 'tis like
A scholar that's a poet; their names strike
Their pestilence inward, when they take the air,

5
And kill outright; one cannot both fates bear.
But as a poet, that's no scholar, makes
Vulgarity his whiffler, and so takes

4 pusils] i. e. mistress, lady of pleasure, distinguished by the wearing of mask or fan from the common courtezan : 'one who pretends to be a virgin (Dyce). The word which is sometimes written puzzel, is also found simply in the ense of wench, drab, and as such used in contradistinction to Fr. pucelle. This has led to the supposition that the words are distinct and to the connection of puzzel with It. puzzolente. There is no reason to suppose that this is So. Cf. the modern Fr. pucelle de marolles. 7 sixpence] 'i. e. the lowest sum taken at the theatre on the representation of The Faithful Shepherdess' (Dyce). But the brave spark' who was with a lady ‘in the dark'evidently occupied one of the 'rooms' or boxes, and these were certainly not the cheapest places. Jonson is not wasting his scorn upon the groundlings. On theatre prices see Collier's Hist. Dram. Poet. (1831), III. P. 341, but the whole subject is difficult and obscure.

Verses by Chapman, in Qq.
Heading Master John] So Dyce. M. Jo. Q1, 2. M'. Jo. Q3, etc.

8 whiffler) i. e. usher ; properly the person who cleared the way for a procession.

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