BY THE CLARISSIMI OF VENICE,
FOR COMPOSING AN ELIGIACK HEXASTICK OF THE CITY.
Twas a blith prince exchang'd five hundred crowns
For a fair turnip. Dig, dig on, O clowns
But how this comes about, Fates, can you tell,
This more then Maid of Meurs, this miracle?
Let me not live, if I think not St. Mark
Has all the oar, as well as beasts, in's ark!
No wonder 'tis he marries the rich sea,
But to betroth him to nak'd Poesie,
And with a bankrupt muse to merchandise;
His treasures beams, sure, have put out his eyes.
His conquest at Lepanto I'l let pass,
When the sick sea with turbants night-cap'd was;
And now at Candie his full courage shown,
That wan'd to a wan line the half-half moon.
This is a wreath, this is a victorie,
Caesar himself would have look'd pale to see,
And in the height of all his triumphs feel
Himself but chain'd to such a mighty wheel.
And now me thinks we ape Augustus state,
So ugly we his high worth imitate,
Monkey his godlike glories; so that we
Keep light and form with such deformitie,
As I have seen an arrogant baboon
With a small piece of glasse zany the sun.
Rome to her bard, who did her battails sing,
Indifferent gave to poet and to king;
With the same lawrells were his temples fraught,
Who best had written, and who best had fought;
The self same fame they equally did feel,
One's style ador'd as much as t' other's steel.
A chain or fasces she could then afford
The sons of Phoebus, we, an axe or cord;
Sometimes a coronet was her renown,
And ours, the dear prerogative of a crown.
In marble statu'd walks great Lucan lay,
And now we walk, our own pale statua.
They the whole year with roses crownd would dine,
And we in all December know no wine;
Disciplin'd, dieted, sure there hath bin
Ods 'twixt a poet and a Capuchin.
Of princes, women, wine, to sing I see
Is no apocrypha: for to rise high
Commend this olio of this lord 'tis fit:
Nay, ten to one, but you have part of it;
There is that justice left, since you maintain
His table, he should counter-feed your brain.
Then write how well he in his sack hath droll'd,
Straight there's a bottle to your chamber roll'd,
Or with embroider'd words praise his French suit,
Month hence 'tis yours with his mans, to boot;
Or but applaud his boss'd legs: two to none,
But he most nobly doth give you one.
Or spin an elegie on his false hair:
'Tis well, he cries, but living hair is dear.
Yet say that out of order ther's one curl,
And all the hopes of your reward you furl.
Write a deep epick poem, and you may
As soon delight them as the opera,
Where they Diogenes thought in his tub,
Never so sowre did look so sweet a club.
You that do suck for thirst your black quil's blood,
And chaw your labour'd papers for your food,
I will inform you how and what to praise,
Then skin y' in satin as young Lovelace plaies.
Beware, as you would your fierce guests, your lice,
To strip the cloath of gold from cherish'd vice;
Rather stand off with awe and reverend fear,
Hang a poetick pendant in her ear,
Court her as her adorers do their glasse,
Though that as much of a true substance has,
Whilst all the gall from your wild ink you drain,
The beauteous sweets of vertues cheeks to stain;
And in your livery let her be known,
As poor and tatter'd as in her own.
Nor write, nor speak you more of sacred writ,
But what shall force up your arrested wit.
Be chast; religion and her priests your scorn,
Whilst the vain fanes of idiots you adorn.
It is a mortal errour, you must know,
Of any to speak good, if he be so.
Rayl, till your edged breath flea your raw throat,
And burn remarks on all of gen'rous note;
Each verse be an indictment, be not free
Sanctity 't self from thy scurrility.
Libel your father, and your dam buffoon,
The noblest matrons of the isle lampoon,
Whilst Aretine and 's bodies you dispute,
And in your sheets your sister prostitute.
Yet there belongs a sweetnesse, softnesse too,
Which you must pay, but first, pray, know to who.
There is a creature, (if I may so call
That unto which they do all prostrate fall)
Term'd mistress, when they'r angry; but, pleas'd high,
It is a princesse, saint, divinity.
To this they sacrifice the whole days light,
Then lye with their devotion all night;
For this you are to dive to the abysse,
And rob for pearl the closet of some fish.
Arabia and Sabaea you must strip
Of all their sweets, for to supply her lip;
And steal new fire from heav'n, for to repair
Her unfledg'd scalp with Berenice's hair;
Then seat her in Cassiopeia's chair.
As now you're in your coach: save you, bright sir,
(O, spare your thanks) is not this finer far
Then walk un-hided, when that every stone
Has knock'd acquaintance with your ankle-bone?
When your wing'd papers, like the last dove, nere
Return'd to quit you of your hope or fear,
But left you to the mercy of your host
And your days fare, a fortified toast.
How many battels, sung in epick strain,
Would have procur'd your head thatch from the rain
Not all the arms of Thebes and Troy would get
One knife but to anatomize your meat,
A funeral elegie, with a sad boon,
Might make you (hei!) sip wine like maccaroon;
But if perchance there did a riband come,
Not the train-band so fierce with all its drum:
Yet with your torch you homeward would retire,
And heart'ly wish your bed your fun'ral pyre.
With what a fury have I known you feed
Upon a contract and the hopes 't might speed!
Not the fair bride, impatient of delay,
Doth wish like you the beauties of that day;
Hotter than all the roasted cooks you sat
To dresse the fricace of your alphabet,
Which sometimes would be drawn dough anagrame,
Sometimes acrostick parched in the flame;
Then posies stew'd with sippets, mottos by:
Of minced verse a miserable pye.
How many knots slip'd, ere you twist their name
With th' old device, as both their heart's the same!
Whilst like to drills the feast in your false jaw
You would transmit at leisure to your maw;
Then after all your fooling, fat, and wine,
Glutton'd at last, return at home to pine.
Tell me, O Sun, since first your beams did play
To night, and did awake the sleeping day;
Since first your steeds of light their race did start,
Did you ere blush as now? Oh thou, that art
The common father to the base pissmire,
As well as great Alcides, did the fire
From thine owne altar which the gods adore,
Kindle the souls of gnats and wasps before?
Who would delight in his chast eyes to see
Dormise to strike at lights of poesie?
Faction and envy now are downright rage.
Once a five-knotted whip there was, the stage:
The beadle and the executioner,
To whip small errors, and the great ones tear;
Now, as er'e Nimrod the first king, he writes:
That's strongest, th' ablest deepest bites.
The muses weeping fly their hill, to see
Their noblest sons of peace in mutinie.
Could there nought else this civil war compleat,
But poets raging with poetic heat,
Tearing themselves and th' endlesse wreath, as though
Immortal they, their wrath should be so, too?
And doubly fir'd Apollo burns to see
In silent Helicon a naumachie.
Parnassus hears these at his first alarms;
Never till now Minerva was in arms.
O more then conqu'ror of the world, great Rome!
Thy heros did with gentleness or'e come
Thy foes themselves, but one another first,
Whilst envy stript alone was left, and burst.
The learn'd Decemviri, 'tis true, did strive,
But to add flames to keep their fame alive;
Whilst the eternal lawrel hung ith' air:
Nor of these ten sons was there found one heir.
Like to the golden tripod, it did pass
From this to this, till 't came to him, whose 'twas.
Caesar to Gallus trundled it, and he
To Maro: Maro, Naso, unto thee?
Naso to his Tibullus flung the wreath,
He to Catullus thus did bequeath.
This glorious circle, to another round,
At last the temples of their god it bound.
I might believe at least, that each might have
A quiet fame contented in his grave,
Envy the living, not the dead, doth bite:
For after death all men receave their right.
If it be sacriledge for to profane
Their holy ashes, what is't then their flame?
He does that wrong unweeting or in ire,
As if one should put out the vestal fire.
Let earths four quarters speak, and thou, Sun, bear
Now witnesse for thy fellow-traveller.
I was ally'd, dear Uncle, unto thee
In blood, but thou, alas, not unto me;
Your vertues, pow'rs, and mine differ'd at best,
As they whose springs you saw, the east and west.
Let me awhile be twisted in thy shine,
And pay my due devotions at thy shrine.
Might learned Waynman rise, who went with thee
In thy heav'ns work beside divinity,
I should sit still; or mighty Falkland stand
To justifie with breath his pow'rful hand;
The glory, that doth circle your pale urn,
Might hallow'd still and undefiled burn:
But I forbear. Flames, that are wildly thrown
At sacred heads, curle back upon their own;
Sleep, heavenly Sands, whilst what they do or write,
Is to give God himself and you your right.
There is not in my mind one sullen fate
Of old, but is concentred in our state:
Vandall ore-runners, Goths in literature:
Ploughmen that would Parnassus new-manure;
Ringers of verse that all-in-chime,
And toll the changes upon every rime.
A mercer now by th' yard does measure ore
An ode, which was but by the foot before;
Deals you an ell of epigram, and swears
It is the strongest and the finest wears.
No wonder, if a drawer verses rack,
If 'tis not his, 't may be the spir't of sack;
Whilst the fair bar-maid stroaks the muses teat,
For milk to make the posset up compleat.
Arise, thou rev'rend shade, great Johnson, rise!
Break through thy marble natural disguise!
Behold a mist of insects, whose meer breath
Will melt thy hallow'd leaden house of death.
What was Crispinus, that you should defie
The age for him? He durst not look so high
As your immortal rod, he still did stand
Honour'd, and held his forehead to thy brand.
These scorpions, with which we have to do,
Are fiends, not only small but deadly too.
Well mightst thou rive thy quill up to the back,
And scrue thy lyre's grave chords, untill they crack.
For though once hell resented musick, these
Divels will not, but are in worse disease.
How would thy masc'line spirit, father Ben,
Sweat to behold basely deposed men,
Justled from the prerog'tive of their bed,
Whilst wives are per'wig'd with their husbands head?
Each snatches the male quill from his faint hand,
And must both nobler write and understand,
He to her fury the soft plume doth bow:
O pen, nere truely justly slit till now!
Now as her self a poem she doth dresse.
And curls a line, as she would do a tresse;
Powders a sonnet as she does her hair,
Then prostitutes them both to publick aire.
Nor is 't enough, that they their faces blind
With a false dye; but they must paint their mind,
In meeter scold, and in scann'd order brawl,
Yet there's one Sapho left may save them all.
But now let me recal my passion.
Oh! (from a noble father, nobler son)
You, that alone are the Clarissimi,
And the whole gen'rous state of Venice be,
It shall not be recorded Sanazar
Shall boast inthron'd alone this new made star;
You, whose correcting sweetnesse hath forbad
Shame to the good, and glory to the bad;
Whose honour hath ev'n into vertue tam'd
These swarms, that now so angerly I nam'd.
Forgive what thus distemper'd I indite:
For it is hard a SATYRE not to write.
Yet, as a virgin that heats all her blood
At the first motion of bad understood,
Then, at meer thought of fair chastity,
Straight cools again the tempests of her sea:
So when to you I my devotions raise,
All wrath and storms do end in calm and praise.
Louis XI. of France was the prince here intended. See
MERY TALES AND QUICKE ANSWERS, No. 23 (ed. Hazlitt). I fear
that if Lovelace had derived his knowledge of this incident
rom the little work mentioned, he would have been still more
sarcastic; for Louis, in the TALES AND QUICKE ANSWERS, is made
to give, not 500 crowns for a turnip, but 1000 crowns for a radish.
Perhaps Lovelace is rather too severe on Sannazaro. That
writer is said to have occupied twenty years in the composition
of his poem on the Birth of the Saviour, for which he probably
did not receive a sixth part of the sum paid to him for his
hexastic on Venice; and so he deserved this little windfal, which
came out of the pocket of a Government rich enough to pay it ten
times over. See Corniano's VITA DI JACOPO SANNAZARO, prefixed to
the edition of his ARCADIA, published at Milan in 1806. Amongst
the translations printed at the end of LUCASTA, and which it seems
very likely were among the earliest poetical essays of Lovelace,
is this very epigram of Sannazaro. As in the case of THE ANT,
I have little doubt that the satire was suggested by the
The battle of Lepanto, in which Don John of Austria and
the Venetians defeated the Turks, 1571.
The Turkish crescent.
Close, or shut up.
i.e. write as a means of subsistence.
Original reads ALL MARKS.
A hard toasted crust.
A fee or gratuity given to a poet on a mournful occasion,
and made more liberal by the circumstances of affliction in which
the donors are placed.
Generally, a mere coxcomb or dandy; but here the poet
implies a man about town who is rich enough to indulge
in fashionable luxuries.
The ribbon by which the star of an order of knighthood
was attached to the breast of the fortunate recipient. It
sometimes also stood for the armlet worn by gentlemen in our
poet's day, as a mark of some lady's esteem. See Shirley's
POEMS (Works, vi. 440).
A crude anagram.
An imperfect acrostic. Few readers require to be told
that anagrams and acrostics were formerly one of the most
fashionable species of composition. Lovelace here pictures
a poetaster "stewing" his brains with a poem of this description,
which of course demanded a certain amount of tedious and minute
attention to the arrangement of the name of the individual
to whom the anagram or acrostic was to be addressed, and this
was especially the case, where the writer contemplated
a DOUBLE acrostic.
Original reads IS.
Ovid. EL. 15.
The Lovelaces were connected, not only with the Hammonds
Auchers, &c., but on the mother's side with the family of Sandys.
See Berry's KENT GENEALOGIES, which, however, are not by any means
invariably reliable. The subjoined is partly from Berry: -
Edwin Sandys, === Cecilia, da. of Thomas
Archbishop of ! Wilford, of Cranbrook,
York, ob. 1588. ! Co. Kent, Esq. ob. 1610.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
! ! !
[Sir]===(4thly)Catherine, George, trans- Anne===Sir William
Edwin ! da. of Sir R. lator of the Barnes, of
Sandys ! Bulkeley, of Psalms, &c., Woolwich,
! Anglesey. ob. 1643-4, the poet's
! Lovelace's maternal
! GREAT-uncle. grandfather.
Richard Sandys Esq.===Hester, da. of Edwin Aucher, second
son of Anthony Aucher, Esq., of
[George] Sandys published, in 1615, his "Relation
of a Journey Begun A.D. 1610," &c., which became very popular,
and was frequently reprinted.
"There was Selden, and he sat close by the chair;
Wainman not far off, which was very fair."
Suckling's SESSION OF THE POETS.
"Hales set by himself, most gravely did smile
To see them about nothing keep such a wil;
APOLLO had spied him, but knowing his mind
Past by, and call'd FALKLAND, that sat just behind.
He was of late so gone with divinity,
That he had almost forgot his poetry,
Though to say the truth (and APOLLO did know it)
He might have been both his priest and poet."
Suckling's SESSION OF THE POETS.
Lord Falkland was a contributor to JONSONUS VIRBIUS, 1638,
and was well known in his day as an occasional writer.
SULLEN is here used in the sense of MISCHIEVOUS.
In Worcester's Dictionary an example is given of its employment
by Dryden in a similar signification.
Thomas Decker, the dramatist and poet, whom Jonson
attacked in his POETASTER, 1602, under the name of CRISPINUS.
Decker retorted in SATIROMASTIX, printed in the same year,
in which Jonson appears as YOUNG HORACE.
An allusion to the lines:
"Come, leave the loathed stage,
And the more loathsome age,"
prefixed to the NEW INNE, 1631, 8vo. Jonson's adopted son Randolph
expostulated with him on this occasion in the ode beginning: -
"Ben, doe not leave the stage,
'Cause 'tis a loathsome age."
Randolph's POEMS, 1640, p. 64.
Carew and others did the same.
Katherine Philips, the MATCHLESS ORINDA, b. 1631, d. 1664.
Jeremy Taylor addressed to her his "Measures and Offices of
Friendship," 1657, and Cowley wrote an ode upon her death.
By MOTION OF BAD I presume the poet means WICKED IMPULSE.
PREFIXED TO VARIOUS PUBLICATIONS BETWEEN 1652 AND 1657.
TO MY DEAR FRIEND MR. E[LDRED] R[EVETT].
ON HIS POEMS MORAL AND DIVINE.
Cleft as the top of the inspired hill,
Struggles the soul of my divided quill,
Whilst this foot doth the watry mount aspire,
That Sinai's living and enlivening fire,
Behold my powers storm'd by a twisted light
O' th' Sun and his, first kindled his sight,
And my lost thoughts invoke the prince of day,
My right to th' spring of it and him do pray.
Say, happy youth, crown'd with a heav'nly ray
Of the first flame, and interwreathed bay,
Inform my soul in labour to begin,
Ios or Anthems, Poeans or a Hymne.
Shall I a hecatombe on thy tripod slay,
Or my devotions at thy altar pay?
While which t' adore th' amaz'd world cannot tell,
The sublime Urim or deep oracle.
Heark! how the moving chords temper our brain,
As when Apollo serenades the main,
Old Ocean smooths his sullen furrow'd front,
And Nereids do glide soft measures on't;
Whilst th' air puts on its sleekest, smoothest face,
And each doth turn the others looking-glasse;
So by the sinewy lyre now strook we see
Into soft calms all storm of poesie,
And former thundering and lightning lines,
And verse now in its native lustre shines.
How wert thou hid within thyself! how shut!
Thy pretious Iliads lock'd up in a nut!
Not hearing of thee thou dost break out strong,
Invading forty thousand men in song;
And we, secure in our thin empty heat,
Now find ourselves at once surprised and beat,
Whilst the most valiant of our wits now sue,
Fling down their arms, ask quarter too of you.
So cabin'd up in its disguis'd coarse rust,
And scurf'd all ore with its unseemly crust,
The diamond, from 'midst the humbler stones,
Sparkling shoots forth the price of nations.
Ye safe unriddlers of the stars, pray tell,
By what name shall I stamp my miracle?
Thou strange inverted Aeson, that leap'st ore
From thy first infancy into fourscore,
That to thine own self hast the midwife play'd,
And from thy brain spring'st forth the heav'nly maid!
Thou staffe of him bore him, that bore our sins,
Which, but set down, to bloom and bear begins!
Thou rod of Aaron, with one motion hurl'd,
Bud'st a perfume of flowers through the world!
You strange calcined seeds within a glass,
Each species Idaea spring'st as 'twas!
Bright vestal flame that, kindled but ev'n now,
For ever dost thy sacred fires throw!
Thus the repeated acts of Nestor's age,
That now had three times ore out-liv'd the stage,
And all those beams contracted into one,
Alcides in his cradle hath outdone.
But all these flour'shing hiews, with which I die
Thy virgin paper, now are vain as I:
For 'bove the poets Heav'n th' art taught to shine
And move, as in thy proper crystalline;
Whence that mole-hill Parnassus thou dost view,
And us small ants there dabbling in its dew;
Whence thy seraphic soul such hymns doth play,
As those to which first danced the first day,
Where with a thorn from the world-ransoming wreath
Thou stung, dost antiphons and anthems breathe;
Where with an Angels quil dip'd i' th' Lambs blood,
Thou sing'st our Pelicans all-saving flood,
And bath'st thy thoughts in ever-living streams,
Rench'd from earth's tainted, fat and heavy steams.
There move translated youth inroll'd i' th' quire,
That only doth with wholy lays inspire;
To whom his burning coach Eliah sent,
And th' royal prophet-priest his harp hath lent;
Which thou dost tune in consort unto those
Clap wings for ever at each hallow'd close:
Whilst we, now weak and fainting in our praise,
Sick echo ore thy Halleluiahs.
Revett has some verses to the memory of Lovelace,
which will be found among the Elegies at the end of the volume.
The present lines were apparently written for a projected edition
of Revett's poems, which, for some unknown reason, was never
published. Revett has also verses prefixed to THE ROYAL GAME
OF CHESSE PLAY, 1656; to AYRES AND DIALOGUES, by John Gamble,
1656; and to Hall's translation of the COMMENT OF HIEROCLES UPON
THE GOLDEN VERSES OF PYTHAGORAS, 1657.
Original has COURSE.
This is only one instance among many which might be cited
from LUCASTA of the employment of an intransitive verb in a
i.e. THAT BORE HIM.
i.e. THAT BUD'ST.
Orig. has THOU.
This word, now employed only in a special sense, was
formerly a very common and favourite metaphor. Thus Lord
Westmoreland, in his OTIA SACRA, 1648, p. 19, says: -
"When all the vertue we can here put on
Is but refined imperfection,
Corruption calcined - "
See also p. 137 of the same volume.
ON THE BEST, LAST, AND ONLY REMAINING COMEDY
OF MR. FLETCHER.
THE WILD GOOSE CHASE.
I'm un-ore-clowded, too! free from the mist!
The blind and late Heaven's-eyes great Occulist,
Obscured with the false fires of his sceme,
Not half those souls are lightned by this theme.
Unhappy murmurers, that still repine
(After th' Eclipse our Sun doth brighter shine),
Recant your false grief, and your true joys know;
Your blisse is endlesse, as you fear'd your woe!
What fort'nate flood is this! what storm of wit!
Oh, who would live, and not ore-whelm'd in it?
No more a fatal Deluge shall be hurl'd:
This inundation hath sav'd the world.
Once more the mighty Fletcher doth arise,
Roab'd in a vest studded with stars and eyes
Of all his former glories; his last worth
Imbroiderd with what yet light ere brought forth.
See! in this glad farewel he doth appear
Stuck with the Constellations of his Sphere,
Fearing we numb'd fear'd no flagration,
Hath curl'd all his fires in this one ONE:
Which (as they guard his hallowed chast urn)
The dull aproaching hereticks do burn.
Fletcher at his adieu carouses thus
To the luxurious ingenious,
As Cleopatra did of old out-vie,
Th' un-numb'red dishes of her Anthony,
When (he at th' empty board a wonderer)
Smiling she calls for pearl and vinegar,
First pledges him in's BREATH, then at one draught
Swallows THREE KINGDOMS of To HIS BEST THOUGHT.
Hear, oh ye valiant writers, and subscribe;
(His force set by) y'are conquer'd by this bribe.
Though you hold out your selves, he doth commit
In this a sacred treason in your wit;
Although in poems desperately stout,
Give up: this overture must buy you out.
Thus with some prodigal us'rer 't doth fare,
That keeps his gold still vayl'd, his steel-breast bare;
That doth exceed his coffers all but's eye,
And his eyes' idol the wing'd Deity:
That cannot lock his mines with half the art
As some rich beauty doth his wretched heart;
Wild at his real poverty, and so wise
To win her, turns himself into a prise.
First startles her with th' emerald Mad-Lover
The ruby Arcas, least she should recover
Her dazled thought, a Diamond he throws,
Splendid in all the bright Aspatia's woes;