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THE TENTH BOOK OF JOHN OWEN’S EPIGRAMS  

1. TO ROGER OWEN, HIS MAECENAS

It is thy Vertue, Vertue to propose
To be thy Study, this thy Judgement chose:
Where thou most Vertue find’st, thou lov’st it there,
While thou with the most vert’uous art Compeer.

2. TO PONTICUS, SOUND-UNSOUND

In health and welth thou dost with Pride abound:
But, when thou shalt be sick, thou wilt be found.

3. WHAT A CLOCK IS’T?

Death creeps on Life, and Age on youth: the while
’Tis asked, What is’t a Clock? Hours us beguile.

4. BACCHUS HIS DEIFYING

Wine Truth doth speak, doth secret things display;
Dry Souls are silent, moyst things open lay:
Wine hearts doth open; Rhenish Wine descries
The Reins. Who Bacchus then a God denies?

5. OF SILENT LABIENUS

If wise, th’ art foolish not to speak; but if
A Fool (as th’ art) it is thy Wisdome chief.

6. FAITH IN WAX

Without or Wax or Seal men once lent money;
But no without them both none will lend any.

7. TO FIRMICUS. OF THE SEVEN PLANETS

The Sun’s like Gold, the Moon shews Silvers smile;
Venus like Coppress (Cyprus was her Ile),
Quick-silver’d Mercury; stern Mars strikes dead
With fatal Steel; Jove’s Time, and Saturn Lead.
The last five of the seven take to thee:
One Sun’s enough, one Moon’s enough for me.

8. OF A CERTAIN NIGGARD

Verses can from the Skies deduce the Moon, (Bring down
As soon as from thy Purse produce one Boon.

9. WEDLOCK’S PRIMACY

The man by day, by night the feminine
Bears rule: So Sun and Moon alternate shine.

10. OF A CERTAIN WOMAN

Thine Head wears Feathers, Corks thy Feet up rear:
From Head to foot thy lightness doth appear.

11. FAITH

I see the Stars, the Pole’s imaginary;
Eyes view the Skies, but Faith to God doth carry.

12. TO THOMAS, BARON OF ELLESMER, CHANCELLOUR OF ENGLAND &c., 1612

Thou late one Son, one-only Daughter late
Hath lost, yet hast one Son preserv’d from fate:
He of all the three like John, sole Son to thee;
Summest of all, the Sum of all the three.

13. CONTEMPT OF THE WORLD

Wilt live an happy life? Thy Life contemn:
He wretched lives, whose life un’t him’s a Jem.

14. TO ROBERT CARR, VISCOUNT OF ROCHESTER, AND HENRY DANVERS, BARON OF DAUNTSEY &c.

Five Jacobines you gave me, even then
When I five Distichs gave you from my pen.
I merit not your Love, or gifts; by which
(If so dear were the rest) I might be rich.

15. TO HIS FRIEND, A BATCHELOR

Dost burn with lust? ’Tis sin: Espouse a Bride:
The flesh will be the better moritifi’d.

16. OF BALDINUS

He Books unworthy light, to Light brought forth:
Yet Books deserving Fire, else nothing worth.

17. THE DECALOGUE AND CREED

What’s my Belief, than Life, bound more unto?
’Cause ’tis more easie to believe than do.

18. KNOWLEDGE AND CHARITY

I must know two things, two things love must I,
God and my Self, God and my Neighbour by.

19. OF TITHES. TO THE LAITIE

What Fruit comes hence, best fruit’s beyond compute,
After the Ninth, before th’ Eleventh Fruit:
How good is God! who takes not for his due
More than the tenth, but gives the ten to you.

20. OF GOD AND THE WORLD

This World in God exists, God is not here:
We are i’ th’ World, O would in God we were!

21. THE RIGHT OF TYTHES AND FIRST-FRUITS

God is the First and Last; most justly then
The First-fruits and the Tythes he claims of men.

22. FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY

Sole Love with us doth Heaven penetrate,
Faith, Hope are useless; Both within that Gate.
There’s nothing to believe, all’s in our Eine; (Eyes
Nothing to Hope for, for we’ injoy the Trine; (Trinity
Love’s ever there, Love after Death’s alive,
While God himself in Heaven doth survive.

23. OF POLYDORUS

Clos’d in a Chest, as dead, he money keeps;
Quick-silver ’tis not, ’tis or dead, or sleep.

24. TO MY SELF

Owen, the Printer sought thy Book to buy,
The price thou ask’st, he gave it readily.
The Book is printed, and thou buyest it;
O wretched man, thou sell’st and buy’st thy wit.

25. OF ONE UXORIOUS

Thou sitt’st at Stern, but thee thy Boat doth guide;
Which Pinnace-like thee bears with Wind and Tide.

26. OF HUSBAND AND WIFE. TWO IN ONE FLESH

If Love unite not Hearts, espous’d together,
Both of them are not one, but two are either.

27. MAN SOLAR

The Sun contrary to the Globe doth run:
Let then mans course of Life be like the Sun.

28. ON MONTANUS

The force of’s wit is fi’ry, Montan says;
And thence concludes, that Fire doth nothing raise.

29. LONDON

The barrren City fruits converts to dung;
The fertile Fields turn Dung to fruits e’re long:
Thou debtor art for Food and Life to th’ Clown; (Rustic
He debtor is for compost to the Town.

30. TO HIS FRIEND AND KINSMAN THEODORE PRICE, THEOLOGER

In things uncertain thou my certain Friend
Hast been, and still be so dost intend:
What words profess, thy Deeds express, I grant;
Thy life to th’ vocal tongue is consonant.

31. OF ATHEISTS AND POLYTHEISTS

The poor his wants, as many Gods doth fear;
Rich Avarice doth wish no Gods there were.
Poor Penury sins less than Plenty doth:
That thinks on Gods, but this t’ have God is loth.

32. SOLICITUDE. TO PONTICUS

By day, by night thy Wife with clamours fills
Thine Ears, and with solicitude thee kills:
What cure is there from this thee to secure?
In Solitude thou mayst be safe and sure.

33. F A S*

Faith, Hope and Loves the way to scale the Sky
Without these three no man can soar so high.
Hope on the left, Faith is on Love’s right hand;
Love, the chief Vertue, in the midst doth stand.

* Fides, Amor, Spes (Faith, Love, Hope).

34. TO THE LEARNED AND JUDICIOUS KNIGHT, ROGER OWEN

Thou mayst seem to be yong (most learn’d) to some,
If either I were Deaf, or thou wert Dumb:
None will thee young, unless he’s Deaf suppose;
Nor old, unless he doth his Eye lids close.

35. EIGHT

The Savior of the world twice four did bless;
And Noah’s saving Ark sav’d eight; no less.

36. OF MANS PRIMARY. A PROBLEME

Why did the Lord from Adam, Eve create?
Because with him she should not b’ adaequate. (Equal
Had she been made of Earth, she would have deem’d
Her self his Sister, and his equal seem’d.

37. CONJUX. MAN AND WIFE

Sith Wives their Husbands subjects are: Then why (Since
Doth Conjux wife and Husband signifie?
Why doth this Word Conjux conjoyn them, when
Wives most perverse, are most averse to men?

38. EPIGRAM

We, that have fancies t’ Epigrammatize,
Can out of any Wood make Mercuries:
I’m vers’d in Words, as Galenist in Herbe;
He’s master of his Herbs, I of my Verbs

39. OF PAULA, A MOST LECTICK WOMAN

Dost wonder, why th’ art call’d most lect? ’Tis soon
Resolv’d, because thou sleep’st in Lect* till Noon.

* Bed.

40. OF A CERTAIN LITIGIOUS LAWYER

Wert not cause-maker thou, thy need to serve,
Thou, no cause-pleader, might’st for hunger starve.

41. SCRIPTURE READING

The Thief, the traveller are arm’d with Sword;
Phanaticks, Catholicks, all read Gods word.

42. TO JOHN WILLIAMS, A CAMBRO-BRITAN, DR. IN DIVINITY, PRINCIPAL OF JESUS COLLEDGE IN OXFORD

Thou dost the Scripture search, both old and new;
Thou Janus art, before-behind doth view.

43. TO JOHN WILLIAMS, A CAMBRO-BRITAN, A DIVINE, AND FELLOW OF ST. JOHNS COLLEDGE IN CAMBRIDGE

Ingenious youth, do not thy Talent hide.
The Cambrians Honour shall by thee abide.

44. TO JOHN WILLIAMS, A CAMBRO-BRITAN, THE KINGS GOLDSMITH IN LONDON

Thy civil wit doth more than civil seem;
Thee wiser than a Citizen I deem.

45. TO ALL THOSE THREE

You three my Kinsmen are, and each my Friend,
Three Johns , and I your John am to mine end.

46. TO THE CREDITOR

Thy debtor is thy Servant, he, that pays,
Thy Friend, thy Master Payment that gainsays.

47. TRUTH IN THE DEEP. TO ONE PAINTED

False things appear, Truth’s hid; ’Tis seen in thee;
Thy Face is painted, thy facts tainted be.

48. OF PHYLLIS

Thou tak’st, but wilt not Gratis give a kiss;
Thy gift not grateful, but ingrateful is.

49. GRAVITY AND LEVITY

Though light and pond’rous things are opposite,
I would not have mine head too grave, too light.
Ills opposite I hate: I would not have
My Wife to be too light, nor yet too grave.

50. OF A PRATLER, SICK WITH THE COLICK

Thy Tongue is loose, thy Body close; Both ill:
With Silence this, with Loquence that doth kill. (Speech

51. OF THEOLOGASTER, A SOPHISTER

What is thy knowledge without Goodness? Vain.
Cease then to know much; rather Goodness gain.

52. ACTION AND PASSION

Who doth much ill, shall suffer much for it;
But who much suffers, doth less ill commit.

53. REPENTANCE AND REMINISCENCE

I wretch am griev’d when I recount my sins;
But, when I count my suff’rings, Joy begins.

54. THE DAMNED

Thy sad Fate’s like Decembers ’leventh Ray;
A long night follows thy short-cloudy Day.

55. THE BLESSED

Like Junes eleventh Day the Fate shine bright,
A long-long day succeeds thy short-short Night.

56. FOELIX AND FESTUS

Festus infestus* was to thee Saint Paul,
And Foelix was infoelix,** worst of all.

* Unlucky. ** Unhappy.

57. DEMOCRITUS AND HERACLITUS

This wept for the then times Defaults, and Crimes;
That laughed at the Follies of the times.
Mortals will still be foolish, wretched, frail;
That this may laugh, that ever may bewail.

58. ALWAYS THE SAME

Let Faith, Hope, Charity be still the same;
The same thy Wit, still kept within its frame.

59. OF IGNORANT-ARROGANT LINUS

Thee, double ignorance doth captivate.
Thou nothing know’st, and know’st not that thy state.

60. OF THE POET MAEVIUS

Non-Entities and Evil, like we call;
Thou mak’st, though many Verses, none at all.

61. HELENA AND PENELOPE

Fame hath fair Helen mounted to the Skyes;
Glory Penelope doth Eternalize.
Penelop’s, Helen’s Names shall never die:
Because this would, that would not falsifie.

62. OF LIFE

Nature man’s life, as Spiders Webs, doth weave;
Each Labour’s long, apt to decay-deceive.

63. OF PAULA

Thou with thy Bodies use, with usury
Thine Husband trades; He this, thou that, dost ply.

64. OF A COVETOUS MISER

To number, add, or multiply thy store,
’Tis nothing; but divide, thou shalt have more.

65. VERITY AND VERTUE

Never so few, who now learn well to live;
Never so many, who good Doctrine give:
Many, these times, the ways of Faith display;
But they who taught the ways, taught not the way.

66. MODERN WRITERS

We carp at former Works, and Words; yet we
Now writers but the formers Echoes be.

67. THE WORLDS THREE RULERS

Let the Divine be sage, to b’ all unt’ all;
The Lawyer wise, Physician literal. (Learned

68. THE AUTHORS VOTE

I wish not Poverty, nor riches great,
Too little, nor too much: Enough’s compleat.

69. FORBIDDEN BOOKS

We covet things forbid, deni’d desire;
A Wife cloggs youth, a Damsel sets on Fire; (Wearies
One, though deform’d, injoy’d, seems fair by night:
Forbidden Books are read with most delight.

70. ON FESTUS

I’m to thee trusty, trustless th’ art to me;
But why? Thou say’s, th’ art next thy self, so be.
Be next thy self; Thou shalt not me be next;
I love not by bad Neighbour to be vext.

71. THE FALSE CHURCH

What Church doth not her self Christs Spouse declare?
How many yet of them but Harlots are?
If the false Church doth not her self deceive,
Christ shall, than Solomon, more Spouses have.

72. TO DECIANUS

The World, thou sayst, is wicked: True; but thou
Art one of them that makes it wicked now.

73. OF DINDYMUS

A Batchelor in Venus Art thou art;
Thou shalt (when Pander) act a Masters part.

74. TO C. T., 1606

Thy Servants Scholar, and his Lord to be,
An Honour is, a Misery to be.

75. RULE OF STATE

The common Wealth was once the Rule of Right:
But now new Rules of Right are brought to light.

76. OF A CERTAIN CROSS-WEARING HYPOCRITE

Belzebub’s though to th’ Cross an Enemy,
Which seeing, he doth turn, return, and fly;
But not from ev’ry Cross: For though thy Breast
Thou cross, yet Satan in thine Heart doth rest.

77. CHRIST’S LIFE AND DEATH

For me Christ did, and suff’red many things:
God in his Deeds, Man in his Sufferings.

78. THE WISE MENS STAR

To light the Kings to Christ, from th’ Orient:
A Star t’ Astronomers unknown, was lent.
The wise men by that Star found Christ, the King:
O may my Star, my Faith, to Christ me bring.

79. THE GOLDEN CALF BROKEN BY MOSES. EXOD. 32.20

The Golden Calf which Aaron did calcine, (Mould
Moses destroy’d, made it less Belluine. (Bestial

80. THE TRIUMVIRS DIVINES / LAWYERS / PHYSICIANS

These of the World the grand Triumvirs be:
What are Divines? Divinest of the three.

81. TO THE HISTORIOGRAPHER

In History speak’s free? That bad may be:
Speak’st nothing false? Silence may censure three.
Dissimulate or simulate, who writes
An History, must serve all appetites.

82. OF THE DELUGE, AND END OF THE WORLD

The Wicked World with sinful Lusts inflam’d,
Was drown’d by Water: So those Lusts were tam’d.
The now-new World, in Charity grown cold,
Shall be consum’d with Fire as was that old
With Water: Physick thus makes cures intire
By contraries; Fire Water, Water Fire.

83. DEBTOR AND CREDITOR

I owe thee nought but Evangelick Love;
Thee with Apostilick Faith, I prove, approve.

84. OF GOD AND THE DEVIL

God would have all men sav’d: The Devil none:
These no mens persons do respect, not one.

85. OF GOOD AND EVIL

Thee Good, shall have Rewards, the Bad, severe
Torments hereafter: That hath hope, this fear.

86. DO LIKEWISE. TO ATTALUS, A LAWYER

Thou practise must to Theory conjoyn;
Read the Saints lives; do likewise then in thine.

87. THE REDEEMER

To thee my Sight, my Tast hath sole relation;
Thou art my Sun, my Salt, my sole Salvation.

88. MONEY’S METHOD

’Tis vertue great, of Gold to get tuition;
Its good use greater, greater its fruition.

89. OF WRITERS IN THESE TIMES

A fatal error causeth fools to write:
Enough they seem to gain, when seen in Light:
While they, self-pleasing, rashly write, poor Elves,
They seldome others please, who please themselves.

90. A PARADOX

Though Atheists all descend int’ Hell, there roar:
None Atheist now’s in Hell. There was before.

91. OF GAURUS

Thou praiseth nothing, all reprovest; see
While thou none pleasest, no man pleaseth thee.

92. TO MY SELF

Owen, would’st know what friends thou canst procure?
By weight, not number count, thou shalt be sure:
The number, and the Finger oft beguile;
Though Love be Fire, it pond’rous is the while.

93. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KINGS AND TYRANTS

Good-Godly Kings what’s Just and Right perpend:
But Tyrants, what they will, command-commend:
A good Kings Treats I prize ’for Tyrants Threats;
This, what he speaks, commands; but that intreats.

94. OF A CERTAIN * * *

Bedlam for Fools, Bride-well for Knaves is best;
To which of these thou wilt thou mayst b’ a Guest.

95. THE MOTHER CHURCH

You be Christs Brethren, I his Spouse; thereby
I am your Sister, call’d your Mother, why?

96. OF SECTS

Five Senses in a Man the Sophist finds,
Three Souls: But who can tell how many minds?

97. LIFE IN THE BLOOD

Moses, the Legislator, did confine
Life in the Blood; In Christ’s Blood I do mine.

98. TO THOMAS, BARON OF ELLESMER, CHANCELLOUR OF ENGLAND, A CONSOLATION UPON THE DEATH OF MARY, HIS ONLY DAUGHTER, AN EXCELLENT WOMAN, 1612

Nestor, no doubt, and old Mathusalem
Saw many Funerals, and wept for them:
Long livers live, oft see their Childrens Urns:
An happy man, unhappy Fortune mourns.
I, of thy Children grieve the Loss to see;
But glad, that they saw not the loss of thee.

100. TO HIS THREE MAECANATES, EDWARD NOEL, WILLIAM SEDLEY, AND ROGER OWEN

You strive, still may you strive, which of you three
Should be the best Maecenas unto me.
This Strife (a strife-less strife) I will foment;
And wish your Emulation permanent.
You by this noble Strife have nothing lost;
And I thereby great profit have ingrost. (Entered into my ledger

101. UPON THE DEATH OF PRINCE HENRY, 1612

Dead is the Prince, bewail’d with Floods of Tears,
Great Britains Hope, his Parents Joys and Fears.
His second no man, but his German Brother;
And, but his German Sister, not another.
A Prince, while living, honour’d, dead, belov’d;
Both of his Countrey, while he liv’d, he prov.
While I these things with weeping Eyes perpend (Weigh
Salt Tears from both mine Ees like Floods descend.
Reader, believe me, this me so doth touch,
That I can speak no more I weep so much.

102. TO THE PRINCE HIS GHOST

Thou, living, didst m’ an yearly Stipend give;
Lost now, because thou didst no longer live.
Yet, O I wish thou hadst surviv’d, though I
Had nothing gain’d by thy superstity. (Survival
Though neither of us now can t’ each incline,
Yet who can barr my thanks unto thy Shrine?

103. TO THE SAME PRINCE HENRY

I said* thou shalt my Caesar be, but I
Must now, “alas, Thou wast my Caesar” cry.

* Epigram 1, lib. 1. To E. Noel [i. e., VIII.1]

Go to Book XII

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