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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LI. ALEXANDER BROME'S TRANSLATION OF THE LEGES CONVIVALESBen Johnson's sociable rules for the Apollo.

  • 1LEt none but Guests or Clubbers hither come;
  • 2     Let Dunces, Fools, sad, sordid men keep home;
  • 3Let learned, civil, merry men b'invited,
  • 4And modest too; nor the choice Ladies sleighted:
  • 5Let nothing in the treat offend the Guests,
  • 6More for delight then cost prepare the feasts:
  • 7The Cook and Purvey'r must our palats know;
  • 8And none contend who shall sit high or low:
  • 9Our waiters must quick-sighted be and dumb,
  • 10And let the drawers quickly hear and come:
  • 11Let not our wine be mixt, but brisk and neat,
  • 12Or else the d〈r〉inkers may the Vintners beat.
  • 13And let our only emulation be,
  • 14Not drinking much, but talking wittily:
  • 15Let it be voted lawful to stir up
  • 16Each other with a moderate chirping cup;
  • 17Let none of us be mute, or talk too much,
  • 18On serious things or sacred let's not touch
  • 19With sated heads and bellies: Neither may
  • 20Fidlers unask'd obtrude themselves to play:
  • 21With laughing, leaping, dancing, jests and songs,
  • 22And what ere else to grateful mirth belongs;
  • 23Let's celebrate our feasts; And let us see
  • 24That all our jests without reflection be:
  • 25Insipid Poems let no man rehearse,
  • 26Nor any be compell'd to write a verse:
  • 27All noise of vain disputes must be forborn,
  • 28And let no lover in a corner mourn:
  • 29To fight and brawl (like Hectors) let none dare,
  • 30Glasses or windows break, or hangings tare.
  • pg 36131Who ere shall publish what's here done or said,
  • 32From our Society must be banished:
  • 33Let none by drinking do or suffer harm,
  • 34And while we stay, let us be alwaies warm.

From Songs and other Poems, 2nd edition, 1664, pp. 325–6, a more correct text than in the first edition of that year. The Latin of the Leges Convivales is printed opposite the translation. See vol. viii, p. 653.

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