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especially this last, wher he proves couplets to be the bravest sort of verses, especially when they are broken, like Hexameters; and that crosse rimes and stanzaes, (becaus the purpose would lead him beyond 8 lines to conclude) were all forced.


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He recommended to my reading Quintilian, (who he said would tell me the faults of my Verses as if he lived with me) and Horace, Plinius Secundus Epistles, Tacitus, Juvenall, Martiall; whose Epigrame Vitam quæ faciunt beatiorem, &c., he hath translated.



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 a the meaning of which Allegorie he had delivered in papers to Sir Walter Raughlie. v Samuel Daniel was a good honest man, had no children; but no poet.

That Michael Drayton's Polyolbion, if [he] 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 :e Nor that of Fairfax his.f

c See Mr. Collier's “Memoirs of Edward Alleyn,” (printed for the Shakespeare Society) p. 54, where this translation is inserted, from a copy in the hand-writing of Ben Jonson.

d Alluding, of course, to the Faerie Queene.

e That is, before Jonson understood French sufficiently to judge of the merits of Silvester's translation. Jonson's Epigram was prefixed to the 4to. edition of Du Bartas's “ Weeks and Days," printed in the year 1605. (See note in Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. viii.,

p. 239.) f Alluding to Fairfax's beautiful version of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, first printed in the year 1600, folio. Jonson entertained particular notions

That the translations of Homer and Virgill in long Alexandrines were but prose.s

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.b

That Warner, since the King's comming to England, had marred all his Albion's England.i

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.

in regard to poetical translations, which led him to underrate some of those that still continue to be justly admired. Fairfax's Jerusalem, Mr. Campbell emphatically says, “was inscribed to Queen Elizabeth, and forms one of the glories of her reign.”

8 Referring, evidently, to Chapman's Homer's Iliad, and to Phaer and Twyne's Virgil. Chapman commenced his translation of Homer in 1598, in common heroic couplets, but afterwards altered it to verses of fourteen syllables.

h Ben Jonson published a Book of Epigrams, or, rather, Epistles. By an epigram, says Gifford, Jonson meant nothing more than a short poem, chiefly restricted to one idea. An epigram, in our modern acceptation, is a short poem, terminating in a point. But many of Jonson's epigrams, instead of being, (to use his own language)

bold, licentious, full of gall, Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and tooth'd withal, are mere harmless effusions. Jonson, however, had wormwood and sulphur for his verse, when he wished to be severe. We shall see that Jonson said Owen’s epigrams were not epigrams, but narrations.-P.C.

Warner's poem, under the title of Albion's England, which had passed through several editions, the earliest in 1586, and of which “A Continuance" appeared in 1606.

In the printed selections, 1711, this remark is very improperly connected with Jonson's subsequent observation in regard to The Win

That Sharpham, Day, Dicker, were all rogues ;k and that Minshew was one.1

That Abram Francis,m in his English Hexameters, was a foole.

That next himself, only Fletcher and Chapman could make a Mask.



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.

ter's Tale, implying a general censure on all Shakespeare's works, as follows:

.“ He said, Shakespear wanted Art, and sometimes Sense; for, in one of his plays, he brought in a number of men, saying they had suffered Ship-wrack in Bohemia, where is no sea near by 100 miles."

k Edward Sharpham, a member of the Middle Temple, published The Fleire, a comedy, in 1610; and John Day wrote several plays, the titles of which will be found in the Biographia Dramatica. Thomas Dekker is a still more voluminous author, and his history is better known, partly in consequence of Ben Jonson's Poetaster, in which he has ridiculed Dekker, under the character of Demetrius, and Marston, under that of Crispinus : the former retorted upon. Jonson as Young Horace, in his Satyro-Mastix, or the Untrussing a Humourous Poet, 1602.

1 Minshew is chiefly known as the author of a Polyglot Dictionary, in eleven languages, published in 1617.

m For the titles of the several publications by Abraham Fraunce, see Ritson’s Bibliographia Poetica, p. 211. George Peele, in the Order of the Garter, 1593, calls Fraunce “a peerless sweet translator of our time.” (Works, by Dyce, vol. ii., p. 221, second edit.)

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.

That the best pieces of Ronsard were his Odes.

All this was to no purpose, for he [Jonson] neither doeth understand French nor Italiannes.°


He read his translation of that Ode of Horace, Beatus ille qui procul negotiis, &c., and admired it. Of ane Epigrame of Petronius, Fæda et brevis est Veneris voluptas ; concluding it was better to lie still and kisse . . .P Arts

» Jean Bonnefons (Bonnefonius) was born about the middle of the sixteenth century, at Clermont, in Auvergne, where he cultivated Latin poetry with considerable success. He affected to imitate Catullus, though there was one whom he imitated more closely, viz., Johannes Secundus. Bonnefons died in 1614. (Gifford's Ben Jonson, vol. iii., p. 347.) Jouson was an admirer of Bonnefonius; his exquisite little song,

Still to be neat, still to be drest, in “ The Silent Woman,” is from Bonnefonius, and is a happy pouring out of sentiment, from one language to another—a true translation.—P.C.

o These words are printed in italics, as they are evidently the expression of Drummond's own sentiments. Gifford quotes them, with this remark: “It is observable that every addition by Drummond is tinctured with spleen : what a tissue of malevolence must the original record of these conversations have been !” (Vol. i., p. cxxiv.) Had Mr. Gifford lived to see this “original record,” as now published, he might, probably, have regretted the intemperate wrath he displayed against the Poet of Hawthornden, as there are so few instances of such “ additions.” Druinmond's remark in this place must, however, be taken in a limited sense, as Jonson could not fail to understand both languages, which, in his day, were far more familiar to Englishmen than at present. But Drummond might only mean that Jonson was unable to comprehend the beauties of these languages.

P A word in the MS. at the end of this sentence is illegible. The fragment of Petronius Arbiter here referred to, was translated by Jonson, and printed among his Underwoods. (Works, vol. ix., p. 147.)

To me be read the preside of his Arte of Poesie, upon H race Arte of Pasie, wer be beth ane Apoigies oraparer tis, St. Bartholome's Faire : ts Critieus is understood Doce. Toer is ane Epigrame of Sir Edward Herbert's beter it: the

is he said he had done in my Lord Aubanie's house ten Feers since, anno 1604.5

The most common place of his repetition was a Dialogue pastoral between a Shepherd and a Shepheniesse about sing

9 Tois translation of Horace's Art of Poetry, al:hough oue of Jonson's earliest works, was not printed til some years after his death. The preracy a’luded to was, prebaby, destroyed, along with the copious notes prepared to illustrate the translation, in the fire about 1023, which consumed so many of Jopson's papers. In the preface to his Sejamus, in 1605, he speaks of his Observations upon Horace his Art of Poetry, “which, (says he) with the test translated, I intend shortly to publish." The preface appears to have been in dialogue, and the friends of the poet introduced as speakers, under fictitious names-Tide p. 29. “ He bath commented and translated Horace Art of Poesie: it is in dialogue wayes; by Criticus he understandeth Dr. Done.” Dryden wrote his famous Essay ou Dramatic Poesy, dialogue ways — and his friends are speakers under classie names -P.C.

I The Comedy of Bartholomew Fair, although acted in 1614, is not iucluded in the folio works, 1616, a circumstance which his late Editor cau. not account for. As we here learn that it required au Apology, we may infer that it had given offence to the King, to whom we are told it had been dedicated, and, therefore, purposely omitted. That Bartholomew Fair was acted before the king, is proved by the prologue and epilogue. “ It came out at the Hope Theatre, on the 31st of October, 1614, and was soon after performed at court, for I find, in an old roll of the Account of the Master of the Revels, from 1 November, 1614, to 31 October, 1615, now before me, the following item: _Canvas for the boothes and other neccies (necessaries] for a play called Bartholmewe faire, xljs. vjd.'”—P.C. See also the “ Revels Accounts” (printed by the Shakespeare Society), by which we find that, on the 11th June, 1615, Nathaniel Field received £10 for Bartholomew Fair, performed at court on the 1st Nov., 1614.

s Sir Edward Herbert's epigram is among the commendatory verses, in the first volume of Gifford's edition of Jonson. There must be some mistake here, “ ten years since,” and the date 1604 will not agree with the period of Jonson's visit at Hawthornden.-P. C.

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