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O honor, farre beyond a brazen shrine,
To sit with Tarleton on an ale post's signe !
Who had but * lived in Augustus' daies,
"Thad beene some honor to be crown'd with bayes :
When Lucan streaked on his marble bed,
To thinke of Cæsar, and great Pompey's deed”;
Or when Achelaus shay'd his mourning head,
Soone as be heard Stesichorus was dead.
At least, would some good body of the rest
Set a gold-pen on their bay-wreathed crest;
Or would their face in stamped coyne expresse,
As did the Mytelens their poetesse.
Now, as it is, beshrew him if he might,
That would his browes with Cæsar's laurell dight.
Tho' what ayl'd mee I might not well as they
Rake up some for-worne tales", that smother'd lay
In chimny corners, smok'd with winter-fires,
To read and rocke asleepe our drouzy sires ?
No man his threshold better knowes, than I
Brute's first arrivall and first victory "';
” O honor, farre beyond a brazen shrine,
To sit with Tarleton on un ale post's sign! See the History of Shoreditch, p. 209. Tarleton's Portrait, with a Tabor and Pipe, still serves as a sign to an ale-house in the Borough. E. Tarleton is here praised as a poet, who is commonly considered only as a comedian. Meres, in Wits Tr. f. 286, commends him for his facility in extemporaneous versifica tion. W.
» When Lucan streaked on his marble bed,
To thinke of Cæsar, and great Pompey's deed.
Contentus fama jaceat Lucanus in hortis
Juv. Sat. vii. 79. E. Streaked is restored from the early editions; the Oxford reading stretched : which conveys, indeed, nearly the proper meaning; for to streak, according to Littleton, is to stretch one's self for want of sleep.
i. e. tales frequently related before.
4 No man his threshold better knowes, than I
Brute's first arrivall and first victory.
Nota magis nulli domus est sua, quàm mihi lucus
Juv. Sat. i. 7.
These lines, and those which immediately follow, allude to the popular pieces of our author's day. E.
Saint George's sorrell, or his crosse of blood;
Arthur's round bord, or Caledonian wood;
Or holy battels of bold Charlemaine 43,
What were his knights did Salem's siege maintaine“;
How the mad rivall of fayre Angelice
Was phisick’t from the new-found paradice“.
High-stories they, which, with their swelling straine,
Have riven Frontoe's broad rehearsall-plane “s.
But, so to fill up bookes, both backe and side,
What needs it 48? Are there not enow beside?
O age well thriven and well fortunate,
When ech man hath a muse appropriate;
And shee, like to some servile eare-boar'd slave,
Must play and sing when and what he would have!
Would that were all !--small fault in number lies,
Were not the feare from whence it should arise.
But can it be ought but a spurious seede,
That grows so rite in such unlikely speed ?
Sith Pontian left his barren wife at home,
And spent two yeares at Venice and at Rome,
Returned, heares his blessing askt of three,
Cries out, Julian law! adulterie !
Tho' Labeo reaches right (who can deny ?)
The true straynes of Heroicke poesie:
For he can tell how fury reft his sense,
And Phoebus fild him with intelligence :
He can implore the heathen deities
To guide his bold and busy enterprise;
Or holy battels of bold Charlemaine. « Les Douze Pairs”, or “ The Twelve Peers”, of Charlemagne are frequently mentioned in the fictions of Chivalry. See Warton's Obs. on the Fairy Queen, I. 184. E.
w What were his knights did Salem's siege maintaine.
Alluding to Godfrey of Bulloigne, the subject of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. E.
* How the mud rivall of fayre Angelice
Was pkisickt from the new found paradice.
Alluding to Orlando, in Ariosto. E.
“ High-stories they, which, with their swelling straine,
Have riven Frontoe's broad rehearsall-plane.
quantas jaculetur Monychus ornos
Frontonis platani, convulsáque marmora clamant
Semper, et assiduo ruptæ lectore columna.
Juv. Sat, i. 11. E.
* But, so to fill up bookes, both backe and side,
What needs it?
- aut summi plena jam margine libri
Scriptus et in tergo necdum finitus Orestes ?
Juv. Sat. i. 5. E.
Or filch whole pages at a clap, for need,
From honest Petrarch, clad in English weed;
While big But Oh's! ech stanza can begin,
Whose trunke and tayle sluttish and hartlesse bin.
He knows the grace of that new elegance 7,
Which sweet Philisides fetch't of late from France;
That well beseem'd his high-stil'd Arcady,
Tho' others marre it with much liberty,
In epithets to joyne two wordes in one
Forsooth, for adjectives cannot stand alone :
As a great poet could of Bacchus say,
That he was Semele-femori-gena.
Lastly he names the spirit of Astrophell **.
Now hath not Labeo done wondrous well ?
But ere his Muse her weapon learne to weild,
Or dance a sober Pirrhicke in the field 49,
Or marching wade in blood up to the knees,
Her Arma Virum goes by two degrees.
The shepe-cote first hath bene her nursery,
Where she hath worne her ydle infancy;
And, in hy startups so, walk't the pastur'd plaines,
To tend her tasked heard that there remaines;
And winded still a pipe of ote or brere,
Striving for wages who the praise shall beare ;
As did whilere the homely Carmelite,
Following Virgil, and he Theocritesi;
Or else hath bene in Venus' chamber traind
To play with Cupid, till shee had attain'd
To comment well upon a beauteous face,
Then was she fitt for a heroicke place.
" He knows the grace of that new elegance,
&c. &c. About this time compound epithets were introdu into our poetry. Spencer had been beforehand in complaining of the abuses here noticed. See Teares of the Muses, 553. E.
4 Lastly he names the spirit of Astrophill. Astrophel was the name by which Spencer distinguished Sir Phillip Sidney; on whom he has left a Pastoral Elegy, under this title.
44 Or dance a sober Pirrhicke in the field. The Pyrrhic Dance, performed in armour. W.
startups-some kind of country furniture for the feet, which I have not been able to trace in the old Dictionaries. " As did whilere the homely Carmelite,
Following Virgil, and he Theocrite. By the homely Carmelite we are, doubtless, to understand Baptista Mantuan, who lived at the close of the xwth and the beginning of the xvith century. E. Whilere means a little time ago. Sce Note i, to the “ Defiance to Envy”.
As wittie Pontan”, in great earnest, saed,
His mistres' breasts were like two weights of lead.
Another thinks her teeth might liken'd bee
To two fayre rankes of pales of yvorie;
To fence in, sure, the wild beast of her tongue,
From eyther going farre, or going wrong:
Her grinders like two chalk-stones in a mill,
Which shall with time and wearing wax as ill
As old Catillae's, which wont every night
Lay up her holy pegs till next day-light,
And with them grinds soft-simpring all the days,
When, least her laughter should her gums bewray,
Her hands must hide her mouth if she but smile;
Fayne would she seeme all frixe and frolicke still.
Her forehead fayre is like a brazen hill,
Whose wrinckled furrows, which her age doth breed,
Are dawbed full of Venice chalke for need.
Her eyes like silver saucers, fayre beset
With shining amber, and with shady jet :
Her lids like Cupid's-bowcase, where he hides
The weapons that doth wound the wanton-eyde.
Her chin like Pindus, or Pernassus hill,
Where down descends th’ oreflowing stream doth fil sa
The well of her fayre mouth.-Ech hath his praise.
Who would not but wed poets now a daies !
12 As wittie Pontan John Jovianus Pontanus, whose poetry, chiefly hendecasyllabic, was often luxuriantly amorous. See his Works, printed at Hamburgh, 1515.
"And with them grinds soft-simpring all the day. See Note 22, on Book iv. Sat. I.
" Where down descends th' oreflowing stream doth filmThe relative is omitted--that doth fill.