C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 11: Commentary; Jonson's Literary Record; Supplementary Notes; Index
The Assizes held by Apollo in Parnassus to judge the writers of news journals. The Assessors included Bacon, Sidney, Erasmus, Selden; the Jurors were English writers, including Shakespeare. Spenser was clerk of the assizes; Jonson 'Keeper of the Trophonian Denne', in which the accused were confined.
- 1(The Court thus set) the sturdy Keeper then
- 2Of the unhospitall Trophonian Den,
- 3His trembling Pris'ners brought unto the barre;
- 4For sterne aspect, with Mars hee might compare,
- 5But by his belly, and his double chinne,
- 6Hee look'd like the old Hoste of a New Inne.
- 7Thus when sowre Ben his fetter'd cattell had
- 8Shut up together in the pinfold sad:
- 9John Taylour, then the Courts shrill Chanticleere,
- 10Did summon all the Jurours to appeare.
From The Great Assises … , 1645, p. 9. This has been attributed toWither.
- 1While Civicus did thus his tryall heare;
- 2One comes, and whispers Phœbus in the eare,
- 3And him advertis'd, that a secret friend
- 4Of Civicus, did to his Highness send,
- 5A present of some Sack, and sugar loaves,
- 6And that therewith, the Giver humbly moves,
- 7That the poore Pris'ner might receive such grace,
- 8As might be justly found in such a case.
- 9Apollo then, in choler and disdain,
- 10Did thus break out in termes. What madness vain.
- 11Or Impudence (said He) in humane race
- 12Remains? That they should think with bribes t'efface
- 13Our resolutions just, and us divert
- 14From judgement by the law, and by desert;
- 15Then he the Gaoler call'd for (Honest Ben)
- 16The Keeper fat, of the Trophonian Den
- pg 49917Him he commands to seaze upon (in hast)
- 18The bringer of the bribe, and keep him fast;
- 19And since the Tubbe of which he told the tale,
- 20By splitting, had deceiv'd him of his ale;
- 21And since his New-Inn too had got a crack,
- 22He bids him take the Sugar loaves, and Sack.
- 23To make his lov'd Magnatick Lady glad,
- 24That still (for want of an applause) was sad. …
Ibid., pp. 21–2.