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But thinke that wee
If thou beest borne to strange sights,
And sweare no where
And finde what winde
If thou findst one, let mee know,
Yet shee will bee
Benjamin Jonson, gewöhnlicher Ben Jonson genannt, ein Zeitgenosse und nicht unwürdiger Nebenbuhler Shakspeare's, ward nach dem Tode seines Vaters, eines Predigers, 1574 in Westminster geboren. Ein Freund machte es ihm möglich die Schule zu besuchen, aber sein Stiefvater, ein Maurer, zwang ihn, sein Handwerk zu ergreifen. Höchst wahrscheinlich entlief er aus der Lehre und diente als gemeiner Soldat in den Niederlanden, wenigstens deutet eins seiner Epigramme entschieden auf das Letztere hin. In das Vaterland zurückgekehrt, gelang es ihm nun doch in Cambridge zu studiren; da aber seine Mittel nicht ausreichten ward er Schauspieler, hatte jedoch das Unglück, einen Gegner im Duell zu tödten und musste in Folge dessen in das Gefängniss, worauf er sich überreden liess zum Katholicismus überzutreten und endlich seine Freiheit wieder erhielt. Dies Alles erlebte er vor seinem fünf und zwanzigsten Lebensjahre. Von nun an widmete er sich der dramatischen Poesie und erwarb sich durch seine Leistungen grosses Ansehen, doch auch durch seine kühnen Angriffe viele Feinde, so dass er nochmals in den Kerker geworfen wurde. Im Jahre 1616 gab er selbst seine gesammelten Werke in einem Bande in Folio heraus. Die Universität Oxford ertheilte ihm darauf 1619 das Magisterdiplom und er ward fast gleichzeitig Hofdichter mit Besoldung. Er starb am 6. August 1637 und ward in der Westminsterabtei begraben. Drei Tage später kam einer seiner Freunde gelegentlich dazu als ein Steinhauer das Pflaster über seiner Gruft wieder festlegte. Dieser gab dem Manne achtzehn Pence dafür die Worte einzuhauen “O rare Ben Jonson!" und diese eigenthümliche naive Grabschrift bezeichnet noch jetzt die Stätte, wo seine Gebeine ruhen.
Ausser seinen zahlreichen Tragödien, Komödien und Maskenspielen schrieb er noch Episteln, Epigramme , Elegien und Oden, bearbeitete Horaz Poetik und verfasste eine englische Grammatik. Seine dramatischen Werke sind wiederholt aufgelegt worden. Die vollständigste Ausgabe derselben ist die von P. Whalley, London 1756, 7 Bde in 8. Er ist am glücklichsten als Lustspieldichter durch Charakterzeichnung und Streben nach Regelmässigkeit, aber zu gesucht und ermüdend, selbst da wo er natürlich sein will, und sehr oft hart, trocken und eintönig; auch seinen übrigen Gedichten kleben diese Fehler an; er schätzte gelehrtes Wissen höher als natürliche Wahrheit, und angeborene Fähigkeit und seine Leistungen bieten daher mehr Interesse als Hülfsmittel zum Verständniss der bedeutenden Zeit, in der er lebte, denn wirklichen und tieferen poetischen Genuss dar, obwohl sich auch manches Ausgezeichnete in ihnen findet,
They're rear'd with no mans ruine, no mans
grone, Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show, There's none that dwell about them, wish them Of touch, or marble; nor canst boast a row
downe; Of polish'd pillars or a roofe of gold :
But all come in, the farmer and the clowne, Thou hast no lantherne, whereof tales are told; And no one empty-handed, to salute Or stayre, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile, Thy lord and lady, though they have no sute.
And these grudg'd at, are reverenc'd the while. Some bring a capon, some a rurall cake Thou joy'st in better markes, of soyle, of ayre, Some nuts, some apples; some that thinke Of wood, of water: therein thou art faire.
they make Thou hast thy walkes for health, as well as sport: The better cheeses, bring 'hem; or else send
Thy Mount, to which the Dryads doe resort, By their ripe daughters, whom they would Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have
This way to husbands; and whose baskets beare Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade; An embleme of themselves, in plum or peare. That taller tree, which of a nut was set, But what can this (more then expresse their love)
At his great birth, where all the Muses met. Adde to thy free provisions, farre above There, in the writhed barke, are cut the names The neede of such? whose liberall boord doth flow,
Of many a Sylvane, taken with his flames. With all that hospitalitie doth know! And thence, the ruddy Satyres oft provoke Where comes no guest, but is allow'd to cate,
The lighter Faunes, to reach thy Ladies oke. Without his feare, and of thy lords owne meate: Thy copps, too, nam'd of Gamage, thou hast there, Where the same beere, and bread, and selfe-same That never failes to serve thee season'd deere,
wine, When thou would'st feast or exercise thy friends. That is his Lordships, shall be also mine.
The lower land, that to the river bends, And I not faine to sit (as some, this day, Thy sheepe, thy bullocks, kine, and calves doe At great mens tables) and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups; nor, standing by, The middle grounds thy mares and horses breed, A waiter doth my gluttony envy: Each banke doth yeeld thee coneyes; and the topps But gives me what I call, and lets me eate,
Fertile of wood, Ashore, and Sydney's copps, He knowes, below he shall finde plentie of To crowne thy open table, doth provide
meate, The purpled pheasant, with the speckled side: Thy tables hoord not up for the next day, The painted partrich lyes in every field,
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray, And, for thy messe, is willing to be kill'd. For fire, or lights, or livorie: all is there; And if the high swolne Medway faile thy dish, As if thou, then, wert mine, or I raign'd here:
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish, There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay. Fat, aged carps, that runne into thy net,
That found King James, when, hunting late And pikes, now weary their owne kinde to eat, As loth, the second draught, or cast to stay, With his brave sonne, the prince, they saw thy Ofticiously, at first, themselves betray.
fires Bright eeles, that emulate them, and leape on Shine bright on every harth as the desires
Of thy Penates had beene set on flame, Before the fisher, or into his hand.
To entertayne them; or the countrey came, Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers, With all their zeale, to warme their welcome here.
Fresh as the ayre, and new as are the houres. What (great, I will not say, but) sodaync cheare The earely cherry, with the later plum, Didst thou, then, make 'hem! and what praise Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth
On thy good lady, then! who, therein, reap'd The blushing apricot, and woolly peach The just reward of her high huswifery;
Ilang on thy walls, that every child may reach. To have her linnen, plate, and all things nigh, And though thy walls be of the contrey stone, When shee was farre: and not a roome, but drest
As if it had expected such a guest! These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all.
Thy lady's noble, fruitfull, chaste withall. His children thy great lord may call his owne :
A fortune, in this age, but rarely knowne. They are, and have been taught religion: thence
Their gentler spirits have suck'd innocence. Each morne and even they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day, Reade, in their vertuous parents noble parts,
The mysteries of manners, armes, and arts. Now Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see Those proud, ambitious heaps, and nothing else, May say, their lords have built, but thy lord
Drinke to me, onely with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kisse but in the cup,
And Ile not looke for wine. The thirst, that from the soul
doth rise, Doth aske a drinke divine: But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late, å rosie wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
It could not withered bee.
And sent'st it backe to mee:
Not of it selfe, but thee.
Light, and humorous in her toying,
Mos. Upon his couch, sir, newly fall’n asleep. Oft building hopes, and soone destroying, Corb. Does he sleep well? Long, but sweet in the enjoying
Mos. No wink, sir, all this night, Neither too easie, nor too hard:
Nor yesterday; but slumbers. All extremes I would have bar'd.
Corb. Good! he shall take
Some counsel of physicians: I have brought him Shee should be allowed her passions, An opiate here, from mine own doctor So they were but us'd as fashions ;
Mos. He will not hear of drugs. Sometimes froward, and then frowning, Corb. Why? I myself Sometimes sickish, and then swowning, Stood by, while 'twas made; saw all th' ingreEvery fit, with change, still crowning.
dients; Purely jealous, I would have her,
And know it cannot but most gently work Then onely constant when I crave her My life for his, 'tis but to make him sleep. 'Tis a vertue should not save her.
Volp. I, his last sleep if he would take it. Thus, nor her delicates would cloy me,
Mos. Sir, Neither her peevishnesse annoy me.
He has no faith in physic.
Corb. Say you, say you?
And worst disease t'escape. I often have
Heard him protest, that your physician
Should never be his heir.
Corb. Not I his heir ?
Mos. Not your physician, sir.
Corb. O, no, no, no,
I do not mean it.
Mos. No, sir, nor their fees
He cannot brook: he says they flay a man, But if, once, we lose this light, 'Tis with us perpetuall night.
Before they kill him. Why should wee deferre our joyes ?
Corb. Right, I do conceive you. Fame, and rumor are but toies;
Mos. And then, they do it by experiment; Cannot we delude the eyes
For which the law not only doth absolve 'em, Of a few poore houshold-spies?
But gives them great reward; and he is loth Or his easier eares beguile,
To hire his death, so. Thus remooved, by our wile?
Corb. It is true, they kill, 'Tis no sinne, loves fruits to steale
With as much licence as a Judge. But the sweet thefts to reveale:
Mos. Nay, more! To be taken, to be seene,
For he but kills, sir, where the law condemns, These have crimes accounted beene.
And these can kill him too.
Corb. I, or me;
Mos. Most violent.
Corb. How? how?
Stronger than he was wont?
Mos. No, sir: his face
Corb. O, good. You are very welcome, sir.
Mos. His mouth Corb. How does your patron?
Is ever gaping, and his eyelids hang. Mos. Troth, as he did, sir, no amends.
Corb. Good. Corb. What? mends he?
Mos. A freezing numbness stiffens all his Mos. No, sir, he is rather worse.
joints, Corb. That's well. Where is he?
And makes the colour of his flesh like dead.
Corb. 'Tis good.
Mos. At no hand; pardon me Mos. His pulse beats slow, and dull.
You shall not do yourself that wrong, sir. I Corb. Good symptoms still.
Will so advise you, you shall have it all. Mos. And from his brain
Corb. How? Corb. Ha? how? not from his brain?
Mos. All sir, 'tis your right, your own; no Mos. Yes, sir, and from his brain Corb. I conceive you, good.
Can claim a part; 'tis yours without a rival, Mos. Flows a cold sweat, with a continual Decreed by destiny.
Corb. How? how, good Mosca ? Forth the resolved corners of his eyes.
Mos. I'll tell you,
sir. This fit he shall Corb. Is't possible? yet I am better, ha!
recover. How does he with the swimming of his head ? Corb. I do conceive you.
Mos. 0, sir ’tis past the scotomy; he now Mos. And on first advantage Hath lost his feeling, and hath left to snort: Of his gain'd sense, will I re-importune him You hardly can perceive him that he breathes. Unto the making of his testament: Corb. Excellent, excellent, sure I shall And shew him this.
Corb. Good, good. This makes me young again a score of years. Mos. 'Tis better yet, Mos. I was coming for you, sir.
If you will hear, sir. Corb. Has he made his will?
Corb. Yes, with all my heart. What has he giv'n me?
Mos. Now, would I counsel you, make home Mos. No, sir.
with speed; Corb. Nothing? ha?
There frame a will; whereto you shall inscribe Mos. He has not made his will, sir.
My master your sole heir.
Corb. And disinherit
Shall make it much more taking. My master was about his testament;
Corb. O, but colour? As I did urge him to it for your good
Mos. This will, sir, you shall send it unto me. Corb. He came unto him, did he? I thought Now, when I come to inforce (as I will do)
Your cares, your watchings, and your many Mos. Yes, and presented him this piece of
Your more than many gifts, your this day's Corb. To be his heir ?
present, Mos. I do not know, sir.
And last produce your will; where (without Corb. True,
thought, I know it too.
Or least regard unto your proper issue, Mos. By your own scale, sir.
A son so brave, and highly meriting) Corb. Well, I shall prevent him yet. See The stream of your diverted love hath thrown Mosca, look
you Here I have brought a bag of bright cecchines, Upon my master, and made him your heir: Will quite weigh down his plate.
He cannot be so stupid, or stone-dead,
But out of conscience, and mere gratitude
Mos. "Tis true.
Mos. I do believe it. Mos. Most blessed cordial.
Corb. Do you not believe it? This will recover him.
Mos. Yes, sir. Corb. O, no, no, no; by no means.
Corb. Mine own project.
Mos. Which when he hath done, sir
Corb. I. Give me't again.
Mos. Being so lusty a man