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being now about nineteen. He was probably at that time “town gull," as great a fool as Stephen, but in a different a bandsome and well-formed youth, though the great length way. He seeks the great Captain Bobadil, who lives as of his cbin and the size of his nose would prevent his hav. | lodger with Cob, the water-carrier, and Tib, his wife, and ing ever, like Volpone, played the part of Antinous. The has got into their debt to the amount of forty shillings, “ by magnificence of his eyes, and the stern, almost cruel set of sixpence at a time.” He is discovered in a crapulous state, his forehead, would at all times have prevented his face baving been horribly drunk and poorly overnight, as is from being commonplace. He now took to acting, appar. shown by binted details which would not be tolerated for ently in inferior parts; and if any of our readers wish to an instant by the gallery of the Victoria Theatre now. get into the hottest of hot water we should recommend Our first introduction to this world-famous character is bis them to take a side in the controversies about Ben Jonson's calling for a cup of small beer, like Christopher Sly; but as life. No person except Mary Queen of Scots ever caused soon as he has sbaken the sleep from his eyes, he comes out 80 much quarrelling after his death. Professor Masson, the as tbe ignorant, clever, shallow bully, which has made him most cautious, the most kindly, and the most diligent of our
a household word. He finds, in teaching Mabew some fencbiographers, bas mentioned him in his “Life of Drummond;" | ing with the bedst atf, that he has two shillings and that his even he will not escape. As for ourselves, we feel ibat we breakfast is secured. are walking aniong red-hot coals.
The next scene opens at Kitely, the merchant's house in He certainly (or uncertainly) killed a man in a duel, was the Old Jewrv. Kitely is nearly the replica of Ford, in impugned for murder, and turned Roman Catholic. He the “ Merry Wives," the jealous husband. He has married was released and married. Very shortly after we come to the sister of Downright and Wellborn, half-brothers. She the first dramatic piece which he is known to have written is much younger than he is. Wellborn bas taken possession without assistance: "Every Man in his Humor.” This was of his house as brother-in-law, and is holding rather disfirst acted in 1598, when Jonson was twenty-two years old, reputable revelry there ; of which Kitely complains to and has lived to this day, and will probably live forever," Downright. He lets out bis jealousy by telling Downright though it is impossible to get it acted without throwing that he would punish Wellborn, but that ibe world would three companies together. It was first acted at the Globe, say that he was jealous of the attentions of his companions and in our opinion is by no means such a powerful piece as to his wife. (Wellborn, it will be remembered, was the * Volpone," or “ The Devil is an Ass." It was a great suc. young gentleman who wrote the highly indiscreet letter to cess. Henslowe and Alleyn (the founder of Dulwich voung Knowell opened by his father.) While Kitely and College) brought it forward, though Alleyn seems not to Downright are discussing the matter, Bobadil comes blushave taken any part. Tbe actors were, John Duke, C. tering in to ask for that ne'er-do-well, Wellborn, and withBeeston, T. Pope, J. Hemings, W. Sly (brother of Chris. out the remotest reason calls Downright a scavenger, and topher ?), W. Kempe, H. Cende, A. Phillips, R. Burbage, rushes away. The absurdity of this scene and the honest and – hold your breath - WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE! grief of Downright, are worthy of any hand. Kitely tries
What part did he play? Tradition assigns bim the part to pacify him, and try persuasion with his brother Wellof the Elder Knowell, but there is no proof of that; let us born for Bobadil's impudence, but without avail. look at the play itself and see what it is like, and inquire Cob, the water-carrier, comes in, makes a very unprowhether there is not a more probable part for Shakespeare. | duceable remark to Kitely, who chides him for being late, Shakespeare being now an extremely bandsome young and sets Kitely musing on his jealousy against Wellborn's man of thirty-two, we should think it far more probable companions and their opportunities with his wife; he that he took the easy and elegant character of young determines to watch her. She comes in with her sister Kaowell, and as such we shall mention him, having an Bridget. She is so gentle and honestly affectionate about instinct that we are right. The play was brought forward | bis headache that he is disarmed, and determines to be more very much by his influence, it was ihe making of Jonson, of a man. and Shakespeare was at this time, as we have said, thirty Now, the amusing rascal Brainworm, old Knowell's two.
servant, appears on the scene in Moorfields, disguised as a Old Knowell is what is irreverently called on the stage maimed soldier, intercepting young Knowell and Master the “heavy father." He has a son with whom he is half Stephen, who do not recognize him. Brainworm, in spite angry for bis love of poetry and for cultivating the society | of young Knowell's protests, manages to sell Master of ihe wits. He has also a kinsman, Stephen, the country Stephen an old sword for a real Toledo. Tben in angull, a most amusing quarrelsome ass, though like most of other part of the field enters old Knowell, who soliloquizes Jonson's fools, viilelicei Coker, in “ Bartholomew Fair," very about his son's degeneracy in keeping company with men overdrawn. One comes across his delicious idiocy in the who would dare to write such an impudent letter as that first scene, where he tells old Knowell, “I have bought me of young Wellborn. He does not wonder at it in the case a hawk and a hood, bells and all, and I lack nothing but a of otber fathers, who sacrifice their sons' respect by exbibbook to keep it by." Stephen is another Slender, but incom iting their vices; but in his case no such excuse can be parably inferior. While old Knowell is bullying him for
made. While he is in this humor, Brainworm, bis own man, his folly, a servant arrives with a letter directed io his son, meets him disguised, and begs of him. He is so well young Knowell (Shakespeare?), who is still in bed; it is disguised, that Knowell is much taken with him, and from a mad-cap young friend, young Wellborn; the letter, actually hires bim as his servant. This is rather straininnocent enough as times were, is horribly indiscreet, and
ing a point in probability; a man would scarcely be taken makes hopeless fun of the father, who by reading his son's in so far as to hire his own groom. Still, we must rememletter bears a few words about himself which makes bis ber that Shakespeare is said to have acted this character ears tingle. He comes to the conclusion that his son is in
of old Knowell, and so was contented with it. bad company with bis friend Wellborn; but he makes a
Then we get to the Windmill Tavern with Mathew (the singularly wise resolution not to check him, but to shame town gull), Wellborn, and Bobadil.. bob
town gull), Wellborn, and Bobadil. Bobadil begins to him from the vice which, as it happens, is purely imagi.
bluster about Downright, but is quietly stopped by Well. nary. He sends the letter on to his son by the fantastic born, who will not allow him to speak rudely of his clever servant, Brainworm, telling bim not to say a word | brother; it is noticeable that Downright.
brother; it is noticeable that Downright's original offence of bis having opened it. Brainworm at once tells his was only asking him, in a short manner, if he heard what young master all about it, which sets his suspicions at ! had been said. Young Knowell and Master Stephen (the work. The main part of the letter is an invitation to a country gull) came in. Young Knowell (Shakespeare party of fantastics, and be determines to add his cousin, acting ?) acquaints Wellborn with the awful fact that bis Master Stephen, to the number of the assembled fools. letter was opened and read by his father. He laughs off In the next scene we are introduced to Matbew the
the accident, and introduces the two pieces of absurdity,
| Mathew and Bobadil, whom he had brought for young . Shakespeare born, April . 1564.
Knowell to laugh at. Mathew and Stephen befool one anJonson
1574. Every Man in kis Humor, 1688.
other beautifully, and Bobadil being remarked silent and
asked the reason, begins to lie with the volubility of Fals | Tower. Mrs. Kitely h ars her husband talking of Cob. staff, but without a grain of his immortal wit. Bobadil, and Wellborn persuades her that he has an assignation however, knows a sword when he sees one, and points out there. She goes after him; he returns in a råge at having to Stephen that the sword he has brought of Brainworm is been sent for to Justice Clement's for nothing, and finds not worth twopence. While Stephen is vowing vengeance, ber gone. lle follows, furious, Wellborn having told him in coines the irrepressible Brainworm, who coolly confesses whither she is gone. Then Mathew and Bubadil meet the cheat, but so dexterously that S ephen is obliged to ac Brainworm disguised as Formal, who tries to get a sum of cept his apology. He declares himself to young Knowell, money out of them for a warrant to arrest Downright, but and tells him that his father is at bis heels. A scene follows, they have only twopence between them. Matbew gives in which Kitely tries to make up his mind to tell his jealous him bis money, and Bobadil bis silk stockings. fears to his confidential clerk Card, but he cannot do it. There is a general rendezvous before Cob's house. Old After he is gone out of the house it is filled by the characters Knowell comes there after his son, Mrs. Kitely after her to whom he so much objects, and although the plot does not husband, and Kitely after his wife. She spies hier busband, advance, the play is amusing for those who care about an- and flies at bim, accusing him of coming there for no good, tiquarian slang. Cob goes to Justice Clement's house, and and calling him every name she can lay her tongue to. tells Kitely; his jealousy is once more aroused, and he gets lle, thinking ber a lost woman, tells hier so. But the as ab-urd as Ford, until Cob informs him that there are absurdity of the situation lies in the fact that the virtuoas no ladies. Then, however, he gets worse than ever, because and innocent olil Knowell is charged by the jealous Kitely he thinks that the ladies will have come in to the gentle as baving met his wife there by appointment. They move men, and that he will be in time to catch them. This part off to the justices. Meanwhile all kinds of absurdities of the play is rather poor stuil, at least in most modern occur from Stephen having stolen and worn Downright's eyes. Judging from plays, there was a period in our bis | cloak. Stephen is taken to the justices for th ft. llere tory, extending over about two hundred years, wben the all the characters are at last assembled, and the explanaviolation of the marriage vow was considered as probable tions are given, and every one is satisfied. Instead of an event as running up milliners' bills unknown to the following the last scene to the end, we will, with the reader's busband, and when the jealous busband was as ordinary leave, do exactly what most old playgoers do as soon as a character on the stage as the careless one is now; but to they see how matters will end, take our lats and go out, resume. The merry Justice Clement now appears on the leaving the curtain to come down. stage : a capital character, with which Shakespeare might | We have been purposely prolix over the play for more have done much. Cob comes to him for a warrant against than one reason. In the first place it was Ben Jonson's Bobadil for beating hi n, but as Bobadil only did so because first unaided effort, and it made his fortune. In the second Cob abused tobacco, Clement threatens to send bim to jail | place he never really beat it, in our opinion; and in the for abusing tobacco. Clement, baving sent Cob about his ibird, it represents him at his best as a writer of acting business with a warrant on Bobadil, comforts knowell about / comedy. “Every Man in his llumor" may be the best his son, showing bim that he is a good young fellow, but, / constructed of all his plays, with the exception of " Bartbollike bimself, mirthful.
omew Fair," that strange medley of farce and of someThen comes a scene between Downright and his sister, tbing we do not name now. We see, in spite of the wild Mrs. Kitely. lle blames Mrs. Kitely for allowing Well. | lurid effort of « Volpone" and the delicious absurd ty of the born's rioious companions in the house. She defends “ Alchemist," a steady decadence in construction from the herself. There is a good scene, in which Mathew, Bobadil, I first of his plays. Ilis career was very mch like that of and the other objectionable characters come in, and Down: | some other authors : he suddenly made a great name, and right Alings out of the room in disgust at the folly of wrote carelessly; he found that his reputation was waning, Mathew'y verses, and returns only more infuriated tban and made furious efforts to retrieve it. Ile tried the styles ever at the fantastic company which is gathered in his of other people, as in “ Sejanus ; " it was no good. He sister's house. lle abuses bis half brother Wellborn so tried to revert into his own first style ; that was no good roundly that there is a furious riot, and they draw on one either - it was too late. another. When the servants have come in and every.
" The teniler grace of a day that is dead thing is perfectly safe, Boladil is taken with a violent de.
Shall never come back to me." sire to run Downright through the body, and is with dif- | ficulty prevented. Kitely appears on the cene and the
In “ Every Man out of his llumor,” we find some really rioters go out. The ladies siand up for young Knowell. I powerful writing, though apt to grow bombastic. We have particularly Mrs. Kitely. Kitely at once sets bim down (we suppose) the bad laste to admire this passage beyond for her lover. Then the serne changes, for no particular
measure: reason, to Cob's house, v bere he and his wife exchange some
" Would to Ileaven, purpose'ess blackguardisins. Here young Knowell tells
In wreck of my misfortunes, I were turned Wellborn that he loves his sister Bridget, and Wellborn
To some fair water-nymph, that, set upon promises that he shall marry her. We come again to old
The deepest whirlpit of the ravening seas, Knowell (Shakespeare ?), and find him with his own ser.
Mine adaman uine eyes might headlong bale vant Brainworm, whom be has again hired in disguise, it
The iron world to me, and drown it all." will be remembered, not knowing bim to be his own groom. O Rare Ben Jonson, indeed, when you write like that! The cross-purposes are, of course, very amusing. Brain “Cynthia's Revels" and the “ Poetaster" bring on one worm, in his character of Fitzsword, tells old knowell that I of the greatest quarrels of Jonson's life. In the force bis son is to meet a woman at Cob's house. kinowell de. 1 piece Marston and Decker considered themselves held up termines to prevent this. He having gone, Brainworm gets to ridicule as the two characters of Hedon and Anaiedes, hold of Formal. Justice Clement's clerk, and cheats him. and headed an attack on Jonson, the rank and file of which Next we have Bibadil lying furiously with his astonishing consisted of all whose vanity or ill-conscience made them plan for killing forty thousand of the enemy every year by consider that they were alluded to. Jonson at once gave the practice of duell ng. lle expresses his intention of battle, and, that there should be no mistake in a " bearing Downright, but on the appearance of that gentle introduced his two enemies into the “ l'ortaster" as man, turns out to be an arrant coward. Downright beats Crispinus and Demetrius, wbile Decker answered with an him, and exit, leaving his cloak. Master Stepben takes it, | attack on Jonson in." The
attack on Jonson in « The Satirom ustix." These pieces saying tbat he will say he bought it. Kitely gets more may once have been lively in consequence of their personal absurd, and fancies that he is poisoned. Brainworm enters. I scurrility, but the key is lost to all but a very ne, au disguised in the clothes of Formal (Justice Clement's are very dull reading to the general world. The same, we clerk); he gets Kitely to go out on a false errand, and I think, may be said of a great deal of "
, then Wellborn causes him to make an appointment with people considered to be Jonson's greatest eftert; ae w young Knowell to meet his sister Bridget and himself at the 1 it because he had become disgusted with comedy, not by
because he began to be unsuccessful in it, but because it play we shall notice is “ The Tale of a Tub," the last led him into such continual quarrels. We are afraid, in piece which Jonson ever brought on the stage. It is, in spite of all Mr. Gifford may say, tbat Jonson was an ex- | our opinion, by no means his worst, but very readable. tremely quarrelsome person. Tragedy at first smiled upon Oddly enough, the scene is in the country, between what him no better than comedy, for" Sejanus " in the beginning is now King's Cross, the end of Tottenham Court road, and was & failure ; afterwards, however, it was re-written, and Kentish Town. The priest is Vicar of St. Panoras; the given to the world in its present form : it is greatly better various characters come from Kilburn, Belsize, and Hampthan Addison's “ Cato," and has some splendid passages | stead. The Kentish Town mentioned so often in Ben for example, the description of the mutilation of the corpse Jonson is probably that part called now the Grove, which of Sejanus has been rarely surpassed in lurid horror and must have overlooked the Fleet stream, as one gathers magnificence.
from the local names -“ Angler's Lane" and * Fleet What shall we say of “ Volpone " - of the brain which Road." The upper parts of Kentish Town, towards Kendreamt the hideous dream, and of the hand that penned it, wood and Dirtmouth Park, must have been very beautiful; with all its entourage of dwarfs, eunuchs, and worse and indeed, Millfield Lane, on the upper borders of it, is one of worse?
the most beautiful spots within many miles of London at In the prologue he tells us that it was written in five the present day. weeks; for it appears that some of his enemies had To return to Jonson's life shortly. Shakespeare died condemned some of his previous plays because he had in 1616, at the age of fifty-two; and we know when all is " been a year about them.” A singular reason for con gifted, not much of Jonson's relations with him. Ile told demnation, indeed! Volpone is the worst wretch ever Drummond little or nothing apparently; if he did, Drumdepicted on the stage: he is handsome, has much wealth, mond kept it carefully to himself. But we have no intenand pretends to more. In his private life among his favorites tion of entering into the exasperating Drummond-Jonson he revels in luxurious vice, is a Domitian or a De Retz, but squabble: Professor Masson, who possesses the singular gives out to the world that he is dying. As he is childless, talent - a talent, nowadays, wbich seems to belong only to every parasite in Venice hopes to be his heir, and overwhelms him. - of being at one time exhaustive and amusing in him with favors. Mosca, his favorite rogue, assures each his treatment of a subject, has told us all we shall ever in tuen that he is the fortunate one, and never hesitates at find out about the celebrated Hawihornden visit. Ho exanything ; the gulls are quite as un principled as the cheat, cuses Drummond as far as he can. We are rather inclined and at last the jealously honorable merchant, Corvino, is to side with Gifford and Barry Cornwall. At all events, led to consent to a piece of rascality which cannot be hinted Jonson exhibited no malignity against Shakespeare, and at bere. At length Volpone goes, for his own purposes, to we doubt if he felt any. We suspect that the truth about the length of shamming dead, and making Mosca, his crea- | Jonson's enemies lies in a nutshell. He was ill-tempered, ture, the beir: Volpone enjoying, concealed, with fiendish coarse, and rude, as great a bully in conversation as his delight, the disappointment of his parasites, and the way in namesake Samuel, and though many people hated him wbich Mosca taunts and insults them with the sight of their | there is no proɔf whatever that he hated any body. Ile own presents to his supposed late master. But Volpone can. thought certain people fools, and he told Drummond so, not Dot now come to life again, and having made over his prop- to mention many other people quite as indiscreet as Drumerty to Mosca, is utterly in that rogue's power. In the last mond; he thought himself a far greater man than he was, scene, when Volpone, disguised, has by his very extrava- as far as regards dramatic writing, for, like most geniuses, gance of useless mischief got himself in danger, Mosca can | he was most tender on his weakest point. If he had serve him by recognizing bim, but refuses in a whisper to do claimed to be a great lyric poet, no one would have denied 80 under one half of the property, then under three fourths, it, but he insisted on being what he never was, a great then refuses altogether. Voipone, seeing himself ruined, writer of plays ; be vilipended other play-writers, but there discovers himself, confesses, and drags the false Mosca / is no proof that he hated them. Ilonest to a fault, be down into a ruin ten times more hideous than his own would certainly have shown his hatred of Shakespeare had Mosca to the galley's for life, the luxuriously soft-living it existed. Volpone to end his life heavily ironed in the filthy dungeons We are coming to the things which no one reads now, of the Incurables.
but by which Jonson should stand or fall, his poems, The Alchemist " is the best known of Jonson's plays, containing exquisite snatches, but sadly unequal. Among and is to a certain extent on the same plan. A gentleman, these, is any more exquisite than this ? frightened at the plague, goes away and leaves his house
“ This figure that thou here seest put in town; his servant left in charge, assisted by the Alche
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut. mist, Subtle, a charlatan, uses it for every kind of chicanery
Wherein the graver had a strife and swindling. Everything goes well until their schemes
With Nature, to ou do the life: are sent to the wind by the arrival of their master. It is
Oh could he but have drawn his wit very fine when Lovewit, the owner of the house, arrives.
As well in brass as he hath hit His neigbbors tell him that his house has been the resort
The face, the print would then surpass of hundreds of people, and, on knocking at it, it is opened
All that was ever writ in brass : by his own butler, who swears that not a soul has been
But since he cannot, reader, look Dear it, but that he has shut it up for the plague. By
Not on his picture but his book.” degrees matters are explained with great fun, and of We asked the question just now whether there was any the two rogues the butler is forgiven and the Alchemist more beautiful poem of Ben Jonson's than this. The anescapes.
swer is, Dozens. It simply shows, however, what has been It would be difficult for us to follow Jonson's plays
shown a dozen times before, that Jonson not only had no much further, in the space which is allotted to us. “Bar. envy of Shakespeare, but was proud of him. We have tholomew Fair" is not only witty, but tolerably well con.
quoted it in preference to the other o le on Sbakespeare, Structed ; it is, however, infinitely coarser than the coarsest
as it does not happen to be known to every schoolboy. thing which Smollett ever wrote, wbich is going pretty far. The longer ode, for fulsome flattery, overtops everything It was written in 1614, and soon followed by “ The Devil | which we could say of the greatest man of all time, or that 13 an Ass,' in which a young, inexperienced devil gets Addison could say of the Duke of Marlborougb, which is leave from Satan to go to London to try his tricks upon going a long way. Christians. lle, however, finds them not only more wide Jonson's life after Shakespeare's death is singularly unawake, but rather worse iban bimself. It is not a very
interesting. lle had the usual ups and downs of a literary Jull play; we read it through without any great difficulty
man somewhat given to pleasure, probably more of the for a second time the otber day; whereas we honestly con downs than the ups, but the world did not treat bin so tees that we stuck fast in the - Staple of News," after two very badly after all. Ile was “ careless either to gain or attempts with a long interval beiween them. The last keep,” as Drummond remarks with his Scotch shrewdness,
but in spite of wretched health, and writing against time | allow - one of the most exquisite poets who ever wrote in on a steadily falling reputation, he seems to have kept a our or any other language. To read his poems is like house over his head, and, according to Howell, “a year walking in an English meadow in May time: bere a cow. before his death, had good company, excellent cheer, choice slip, there a fading primrose, now a bold oxlip, now a par. wines, and a jovial welcome” to a solemn supper to which ple orchid; you find a dull-colored, half-toned green at one Howell was invited. Ben Jonson went to bis grave with time, at another a tall, flaunting spike of loose-strife or a no great case against the world.
golden caltha. Above and over this natural garden fly He was great as a tavern bully: not by any means a thoughts and fancies, some like heavy-laden bees, some Bobadil, a Hilting, a Cutting, or any other of his favorite like vague, gaudy butterflies. To prove it. in conclusion cut-throat cowards, but an interminable talker to a circle we must say, in the exquisite words of another, “I bring of admirers. We read the other day in a certain review you here a nosegay of a few culled flowers, with nothing of on clubs, “ that the authors had gone to the palatial halls my own but the string which binds them." of the Garrick, but that where the wits were gone no one | He was a brute, 0 Drummond! But can you match could tell." We are only too happy to hear it. We never
this? met a wit ourselves, though we have been in company with
“ Have you scen but a bright lily grow a few clever men too, but we have met those who have
Before rude hands have touched it?) seen and heard wits, and have come to the conclusion that
Have you marked but the fall of the snow they must have been ghastly bores.
Before the soil hath smutched it? The worst of it is that wits transfer the original bore
Have you felt the wool of the beaver?! dom at second hand; no doubt that there were splendid
Or swan's-down ever! times at the “ Mermaid," but we are rather glad that we
Or have you smelt the bud of the brier? were not there alter Shakespeare had left; because we are
Or the nard on the fire ? very much afraid that Ben Jonson, without Shakespeare to
Or have tasted the bag of the bee? keep him in order, would have been a sad bore, and it
Oh so white, oh so soft, oh so sweet is she!' seems that no one ever contradicted him. Unless he could The Duchess of Edinburgh had no better welcome, it as 1. talk twenty times more brilliantly than he ever wrote, he | good, as this to his Queen : must have been dull at all times - save and except always in the case of the slang of the day. There we, who can
“What charming peals are these,
That while they bind the senses, do so please ! not follow half his allusions, can see that he was even
They are the marriage rites, Shakespeare's master. For instance, Shakespeare gives us
Of two the choicest pair of man's delights, An exquisite little crystal of the combined wit and slang of
Music and poesy. Miss Tearsbeet, when she calls Falstaff " a tidy little Bar
French art and English verse here wedded be. tholomew boar pig" (that, by the way, is one of the witti
Who did the knot compose, est things ever said ; it is exactly what Falstaff was not,
Again hath brought the lily to the rose, and there are inner lights in it which we could not ana
And with their charmed dance ly ze), Jonson takes the Bartholomew pig and writes a play
Re-celebrates the joyful match with France. upon it, containing all the slany of the d+y; at least there
They are a school to win cannot be much more than is contained in “ Bartholomew
The fair French daughter to learn English in; Fair." Half a dozen words of Shakespeare's were worth
And graced with her song
To make the language sweet upon her tongue." fifty of Jonson's. Nay more: a very clever and not badly. constructed play is written by Jonson on Bartholomew Many other beautiful passages might be added, but we pigs ; and yet there is not one line or passage in it which only give one or two which are least familiar. To sum up makes one laugh like the one saying of Miss Tearsheet, all, Jonson sinks immeasurably beside Shakespeare, and “ a tidy little Bartholomew boar pig." Jonson knew more was as incapable of writing “ Lycidas" or the “ Christmas of the low London life than Shakespeare, but he revels in | Hymn" as we are. He has got a reputation infinitely be it, and is so diffuse that be misses bis aim; Shakespeare yond bis merits, and that on wrong grounds; at one time knew enough of it, and crystallized it. “I got him in | one praises him, at another time one puts down one's pen Paul's, he is gone to huy me a horse in Smithfield : now if in disgust. I could get me a wife in the Stews, I were manned, horsed, On the whole, the best thing we can liken him to is an and wived!”
English meadow, with a flower here and there; when Ben Jonson, then, was a second-rate comic writer and a you do get a flower, however, it is a real gem. He is third-class tragic writer. He had no idea of guiding his a most unsatisfactory person; he ought to bave done 80 life, such as he would have got from a good father ; he very much better. One of, the most amusing things in this had none of those indescribable graces, thoughts, sensa- | not very amusing life is to bear people taking him as a mattions, which almost always come from the babitual com- ter of course (and raving about bim), wbo have obviously pany of a good mother, at the time when the mind is most never read a line of his works. We happen to have done plastic for good or evil. He was quarrelsome, vain, and so on more than one occasion, and the older we get the disparaging of others; with ten times the classical learn more profoundly disappointed we are. What are the facts ing of Shakespeare he made not half the use of it in any. of the case ? Nobody ever reads his works except the thing that has lived. Amiable ? yes, to those who would l young gentlemen who are examined for certain public of flatter him. Generous ? we have no record of it- he was fices, and who are required to do so, for the improvement too profuse to be generous. Only a bear with genius. So of their morals and because those works cannot possibly be we come to the end of Ben Jonson's character, according of the least use. If any one desire to form a judgment difto Malone, Decker, Aubrey, Whalley, and the host of writ. ferent to our own, let him read Ben Jonson for bimself as ers who so infuriate Mr. Gifford. But we always read his diligently as we have: we only hope that he will not be so memoir of Ben Jonson with the impression that he (Mr. terribly bored as we have been; but to save him the danGifford) was tearing the hair out of his head in handfuls ger of that, he may get an excellent idea of Ben Jonson's while he wrote. Mr. Gifford and Barry Cornwall make plays in his four styles by reading “ Every Man in his Halittle better of him, alter all. Shall we end, then, by say. | mor," " Volpone," " The Tale of a Tub," and " Bartholoing tbat Ben Jonson was all this and no more?
mew Fair;" only we should recommend that the last play What, then, makes one's face redden and one's eyes be not left about among servants or children ; it is by no glisten when his name is mentioned ? Wby, a certain means meat for babes. In fact, Ben Jonson's works are defact which his biographers all omit to state and leave it cidedly topshelf books, and although vice is always punfor us.
ished, it is exhibited with such siartling detail that the The fact is this : turn from the general view of his plays punishment is ratber lost sight of in the curiosity excited to parti ular passages in his masques and poems, and you | by the narration of the crime. We have observed that, find that Ben Jonson was occasionally — very seldom, we however, in other ar thors.
behind us; the ear catches the sound, and conveys the ON THE PERCEPTION OF THE INVISIBLE. impression — "quick as thought," nol " quick as light
ning" 1 - to the brain; the latter issues its orders, the BY G. F, RODWELL.
body turns round, the eye sees the horse, and communi
cates this new impression to the brain, which puts in acAs a rule, a man puts absolute faith in his senses. A
tion the muscles of the legs, and thus we jump aside and large proportion — perbaps pinety-nine out of a hundred avoid being run over; the whole set of actions having - of the human race recognize in all that belongs to the occupied a remarkably small portion of a minute. As in the Datural world those things only which can be handled or story of the belly and the members, each organ works with, seen; the two most common attributes of that which we and for, the entire composite organism, the senses are call maller. Tell a balf-educated man that the piece of faithful and loyal servants of the kingdom of the whole chalk in his band is principally composed of the remains of body. But when we ask that same faithful eye which so some millions of creatures wbich once lived ; that the glass recently helped to save us from destruction, to see the of clear water before him contains some thousands of ani nature of the motion we call Heat, or to distinguish a molmalcules, and he answers that he will believe it when he
ecule of oxygen gas, it can no longer serve us. These sees it. “Am I not to believe the evidence of my senses ?". unwonted tasks bear the same relation to it as did the is a common enough expression. The world existed for roc's egg in the palace of Aladdin to the Genius of the centuries before its rotundity was recognized; it ap Lamp; but the eye does not reply to us as the Genius peared flat to the senses, the sun seemed to move across the replied to Aladdin : “ What, wretch! is it not enough heavens, while the earth was at rest. We know with what tbat I and my companions have done everything thou hast opposition the fact that the earth moves around the sun chosen to command, but that thou repayest our services by was received by all classes. How many fully realize it an ingratitude that is unequalled ?" It rather replies: even now? In the sixteenth century, there were but ten “I cannot indeed see a molecule of oxygen gas, or discern Copernicans in the world. The early ideas of all races rel. the nature of the motion of Heat; but I will do my best to ative to things beyond their ken indicate that the tendency distinguish them if you will help me." And tbus we are bas ever been to identify the unknown and the unknow- led to augment the action of the senses by using them in able with those things which are more familiar to the conjunction with suitable instruments of observation. senses. Thus, savages see the storm-demon rushing wildly Let us be more precise as to this matter of the limited over the skies; to them the sun is endowed with life, and capacities of our senses. About us and around us, at all climbing the solid vault of heaven; while lightning be. times and in all places, float myriads of harmonies which comes fire generated by the collision of clouds, after tbe we hear not, myriads of images of things unseen. The manner of a flint and steel.
idea is very old : the Pythagoreans asserted that the music The thinking and observing man is, however, perpet of the spheres is not heard by man because the narrow ually reminded of the fact that his senses are limited portals of the ears cannot admit so great a sound. The in their capabilities of perception. Their operations are peopling of the air with spirits, the existence of the idea finire; and ihe limit, as regards the observation and exam of Djin, Kobold, and Fairy, all point to the prevalence of ination of externals, is reached much sooner than we gen- | the idea that unseen agencies are forever about us. Ten erally imagine. The existence of such instruments as the thousand motions sweep by. bathing us in their current, microscope, telescope, and spectroscope, in itself indicates
| and we cannot recognize them. There are, if we may 80 the limited action of the unassisted senses. The star- express it, sounds which the ear cannot hear; light which depths cannot be penetrated, the structure of the diatoma. | the eye cannot see; beat which does not affect the sensory cea - nay, often the diatom itself-cannot be perceived nerves. We mean simply that there are actions precisely by the unaided eye; while the dark lines of the spectrum, similar in kind to those which constitute ordinary sound, and the wonderiul system of celestial analysis resulting light, and heat, which do not affect our senses. The diftherefrom, would bave remained undiscovered had it not ference is one of degree, not of form or kind. In fact, tbe been for the prism, the substitution of tbe thin slice for
difference is no more than tbis : let us suppose that a railthe circular beam of light employed by Newton, and the way train passes us with a velocity which allows us clearly tatored eye of Wollaston.
to distinguish the face of a friend in one of the carriages; But it is not our intention to discredit the senses because | next let us suppose the volocity to be increased until we their faculty of perception is limited. The senses are spe can no longer distinguish him. These are differences of cially devoted to the composite organism of which they form degree, not of kind; for the motion of the train is the & part. In all that directly concerns that organism they same in kind and in direction, but of another degree, and are perfect; but when we endeavor to press them into this just makes the difference between recognizing our some special service apart from the welfare of the organism, friend and not doing so. In the one instance the observawben we require our senses to discern and investigate cer tion falls within the possible powers of the eye; in the taia phenomena of the external world, we find at once that other the auginented velocity of the train passes the limit their capabilities are finite. Now, the special functions of of observation. Thus also with the motions of light, heat, the senses are to guard and protect our bodies, to give and sound. Let them pass certain well-defined limits, and Warning of impending dangers from both internal and ex- | the unaided senses cease to recognize them. Our ears are ternal sources; to enable us to repel the adverse assaults | deaf to sounds produced by more than 38,000 vibrations in of the forces of nature; to benefit by all that Nature offers | a second ; our eyes are blind to light produced by more 08 - bright sunlight, pure air, beautiful scenery. Gravity than 699,000,000,000,000 vibrations in a second. Each would drag us over the edge of a precipice ; the senses organ singles out a certain limited range of vibrations, give warning, and we are safe : accumulated snow would sharply bounded in both directions, beyond wbich the Dumb us into the long sleep, but so long as the senses re organ ceases to recognize vibrations similarly generated, main sentinel over the organism, we resist the adverse and differing from the recognized vibrations only in rate influence. When the senses cease to give warning we per of motion. This limited range is amply sufficient for the Ish; the sense-bereft madman dashes out his brains. The wants of the organism; but the vibrations beyond the Senses enable us to comply with all the conditions requisite range in both directions, although they may not influence for the main enance of life, and they transmute for us various actions of the external world, such as certain move
1 The velocity of a sensory Impulse travelling to the brain has been demet
termined to be about 44 metres (144 32 feet) a second io inan, while the ents of the molecules of air, and of the luminiterous velocity of a motor impulse travelling from the brain is believed to be 33 her, into actions capable of being recognized in a definite metres (108.24 fret) a recood. The motion is slowest in the case of sight,
lens low in hearing, leust flow in touch. According to Donders it takes ", by the centre of perception - the brain. To tbese
about one twenty-sixth part of a second to think (Nature, vol. i. p. 2). sensations we give such names as Light, Heat, and The duration of a flash of lightning has been calculated by Sir Charles
Wheatstone to be less than a thourandth part of a set ond. The velocity of
electricity through abort lengths of copper win is, according to the same lorsø runs & way with a carriage a hundred yards observer, 288,000 miles a second.