1635 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Kenelm Digby

Ben Jonson, "An Epigram to my Muse, the Lady Digby, on her Husband" 1635 ca.; Jonson, Underwoods (1641) 245-46.



Tho' happy Muse, thou know my Digby well,
Yet read him in these lines: He doth excell
In honour, courtesie, and all the parts
Court can call hers, or Man could call his Arts.
Hee's prudent, valiant, just and temperate;
In him all vertue is beheld in State;
And he is built like some imperiall roome
For that to dwell in, and be still at home.
His brest is a brave Palace, a broad Street
Where all heroique ample thoughts doe meet:
Where Nature such a large survey hath ta'en,
As other soules to his dwelt in a Lane:
Witnesse his Action done at Scanderone;
Upon my Birth-day the eleventh of June,
When the Apostle Barnabe the bright
Unto our yeare doth glance the longest light,
In signe the Subject, and the Song will live
Which I have vow'd posteritie to give.
Goe, Muse, in, and salute him. Say he be
Busie, or frowne at first; when he sees thee,
He will cleare up his forehead: thinke thou bring'st
Good Omen to him, in the note thou sing'st,
For he doth love my Verses, and will looke
Upon them, (next to Spenser's noble booke.)
And praise them too. O! what a fame 'twill be?
What reputation to my lines, and me,
When hee shall read them at the Treasurers bord?
The knowing Weston, and that learned Lord
Allowes them? Then, what copies shall be had,
What transcripts begg'd? how cry'd up, and how glad,
Wilt thou be, Muse, when this shall them befall?
Being sent to one, they will be read by all.