C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 11: Commentary; Jonson's Literary Record; Supplementary Notes; Index

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XXV. ANONYMOUSVpon Ben. Johnson's Picture.

  • 1THus look'd, the Guide, and Raiser of the stage,
  • 2    Whom, first the Age saw Great, then he the Age;
  • 3Johnson: in whom, those distant Parts (ne'r great
  • 4But when divided) Judgment and Fancy met.
  • pg 5355All was not Rapture; Nor (to shun that) Supine,
  • 6(Like their dull works who put their Prose in Rime)
  • 7But a just, Equal Heat, Each part inform0'd
  • 8Which, both at once, Beauty and strength adom'd.
  • 9  Thy plaies were not only ith' Action Seen,
  • 10As when St. George, and Dragon Both, came in;
  • 11And good Sr. Lancelot with his trenchard Blade,
  • 12Broke the Gyants Head in earnest, and made
  • 13The Boyes, and (wiser than the Boyes) the Men,
  • 14Laugh, and cry out, Let's ha' that Jest agen!
  • 15No; by itself, we could approve thy play,
  • 16Though Bevis and the Champions were away.
  • 17  No General Muster came upon thy stage,
  • 18No Piques, nor Errant Prentises did rage;
  • 19No Batteries were made, nor did the Drum
  • 20With direful Noise, Summon the Tyring Room,
  • 21'Twas Peace in thy time Ben! Some Messenger
  • 22Brought in th'Event, but carried off the War.
  • 23  Thou n'r such Tragique words, or sense, didst choose
  • 24Which did the People, and thy self amuse;
  • 25No Caytiff vile was plung'd in speckling Troubles
  • 26 Of Sinking Grief, rowld up in sevenfold Doubles
  • 27Of plagues unvanquishable: Though thy Muse flew high
  • 28And lessen'd to the City, some might descry,
  • 29Thou, didst not alter Nature; Things came in
  • 30Such as th'are Born, no Outrage wrong'd the scene:
  • 31No Ship was cast away in Open Field;
  • 32No fort, in Person, did come in, and yield;
  • 33Nor was't all One to thee, which crost the Seas,
  • 34The sad Ambassadour, or Tripoles;
  • 35Things had their just proportion, Colour, Light,
  • 36Nature ne'r fell, nor Reason, both kept their F〈l〉ight.
  • 37  The Poets Fictions, though 〈thou〉 didst resign
  • 38To Boyes, and Pedants; Thou didst not vex Each line
  • 39With Harpyes, Gorgons, Hydra's, Bears, and Goddesses,
  • 40Beyond Tom Coryats works; or Homer's Odysses;
  • 41Such Antique draughts ne'r Issued from thy Pen,
  • 42Thou turnd'st the Centaurs Out, and brought'st in Men.
  • 43  But he was slow, and heavy, a year scarce brings
  • 44One play forth! Fools! The wary growth of things
  • 45Preludes to their Continuance; delays
  • 46Crown Poems, the price, and emblem of the Bays:
  • pg 53647Plants that live Ages, creep slowly from the Earth;
  • 48They came forth late, and Aged in the Birth;
  • 49So steddy, careful, and (So) slow, grew thine,
  • 50Perfect, Full-tim'd, and truly Masculine;
  • 51Born to Posterity, and the long stay
  • 52Of Ages; such, as shall ner decay
  • 53Till time fall with 'em, till the Muses grace
  • 54Prin's Poems, Or nice Ladyes court thy Face.

From Ludus Scacchiæ: A Satyr against Unjust Wars, 1676, pp. 22–3, quoted from G. E. Bentley, Shakespeare and Jonson, ii, pp. 169–70. In 1. 41 the text reads 'Corgats', and in 1. 46 'Precludes'.

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