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THE SIXTH BOOK OF JOHN OWEN’S EPIGRAMS

1. TO HENRY, BEST AND GREATEST PRINCE OF WALES

God grant thee will the best, the Truth to know:
Who gave these gifts can greatest* Gifts bestow.

* It is good to be Great, better to be learned, best to be Good.

2. TO JAMES BEST AND GREATEST KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, IRELAND, &c.

Tyrants are fear’d of all, fear all: Nor wants
Their fearing force fearful concomitants:
No need for thee (O thou great King of Kings,
Best King) to fear such formidable things.

3. HYSTERON PROTERON. IN ENGLISH, THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE

Cambridge and Oxford, words so plac’d in force
Are like to these, The Cart before the Horse.

4. ON A DECREPIT HUSBAND OF A THIRD WIFE

First Clotho, Lachesis thy second wife,
Thy third wife Atropos cuts off thy life.

5. LOVE

Imprison’d Liberty, Peace-war, sweet-soure,
Hope-fear, Gall-honey, Love doth laugh and lowre. (Frown

6. MINOS

A Judge, who to be Just, on Bribes doth look,
Is like a Fish, which while it takes, is took.

7. DOUBTFULNESS

Both I suspect, know neither, ready either
To credit: Phoebus he can tell me whether.

8. TO ADAM NEWTON, PRINCE HENRYS SECRETARY

Honours mens former Manners change in Fine;
’Tis the worlds course, but ’tis no course of thine:
Thou changed dost not change: ’Tis strange to see
Some follow fortune, but she follows thee.

9. TO THOMAS PUCKERINGE, KNIGHT AND BARONET

Dear Thomas, if to speak suh things be fit,
I first did exercise thy noble Wit:
I first thy Tutor was, thou Pupil mine:
I am not what I was, but still am thine.

10. THREE DRAUGHTS

First draught thirst past, present the next abates.
For the third future thirst anticipates.

11. A DOUBLE RIDDLE

Tell me t’ her Mother that was spoused what woman,*
Her Mother being Man,** Her Father*** no Man.

* Eve. ** Adam. *** God.

12. OF FAITH

True Faith is sure, no Schismatick, nor Greek,
Nor Creete, whose Faith is fleeting, or to seek. (Made of clay, therefore pliable

13. TO SIR EDWARD COKE, KNIGHT, A RIGHT LEARNED LAWYER, JUDGE, &c.

The Laws of Nature, Nature of the Laws,
Thou knowst, thou judgest Clients and their cause:
Thine Answers, (our Apollo) are more clear
Than th’ Oracles, that were at Delphos, were.
Thou cure’st off present strifes, dost countermand
The future: Those with Tongue, and these with hand.

14. A MATHEMATICAL INSTRUMENT VULGARLY CALL’D A JACOBS STAFF. TO A MATHEMATICIAN

Take Jacob’s Staff, his Ladder* give to me,
I more by this, than thou by that, shall see.

* Jacob’s Ladder, Gen. 28.13

15. EARTH’S SITUATION

Th’ Earth ever stands, if Solomon we credit:
If Naso, then it sits, for Naso said it.
Sitting, it weary would be quaking found,
If standing fall’n: What then? It lieth round.

16. TO A PRUDENT, VALOROUS GENTLEMAN, HENRY DANVERS, BARON OF DANTESAY

Thy Valour, Fortune; Prudence conquers Chance:
Thine Hopes above vile-servile fear advance:
Thee Fortune follows, fellows; Prudence leads;
None but th’ Almighties Arm thine Armour dreads:
March on, where e’re the King the calls; Thee guide
Leading, or serving conquest’s on thy side.

17. DEATH’S EPITAPH. TO THE DEATH OF DEATH

The cross slew Death, no more from Death to rise:
Thy Death was Death’s, thy Cross his Obsequies.

18. OF THE POPE, AND LUTHER

The Pope, indulgent Father, frees for fees,
Mens Souls, with indulgencies, from the Lees
Of Purgatory: But more Indulgence
Luther doth grant; He Souls exempts from thence.

19. OF GOD AND MAN

God is the Word, and with his Word made all,
We Men make Words, and like our Words do fall.

20. TO SIR GEORGE CAREW, KNIGHT, MASTER OF THE PUPILLS, 1612, JUNE 13

The King commending Pupills to thy care,
He doth his care of thy deserts declare.

21. OF FASTING

Why keeps the Pope so many fasts i’ th’ year?
’Cause Peters * successor he might appear.

* A fisherman

22. A NEW METAMORPHOSIS

A loving Man and Wife make up one Man,
Which four feet hath, that with two Feet began.

23. OF ANONYMA

Thou Fabians nerve inflamed hast: Now he (Penis
May truly say, “I burn with love of thee.”

24. GOLD FROM THE DUNG

The Scavenger from Dung doth Gold extract:
The like Physicians and Rusticks act.

25. TO FACE NO TRUST

The Wives offence i’ th’ Husbands front is writ:
Yet Man for Pen, Woman for Paper’s fit.

26. TO WILLIAM RAVENCROFT, A LAWYER AND A BATCHELOR

In single Life leading a Life divine,
What few can be thou canst be, solely thine:
Thy Friends and kindred are as Sons to thee:
While I thy Kinsman or thy Friend may be.

27. HISTORY OF THIS TIME

Th’ old Law for History was this, none might
Nor dar’d untruth, nor fear’d the truth to write:
But Hist’ries now-new Law doth th’ old oppose,
None fears untruth, nor dares the truth disclose.

28. A FAIR DOWRY

I like a naked Beauty, but not bare:
I would, that matter with the form should square.

29. A GALLICK VIRGIN

Gallick virginity belongs t’ a Child,
For in their Speech* Child’s a Virgin stil’d.

* Pucelle, that is a little one, the French call Virgin.

AN ENGLISH VIRGIN

An English with French words should near assent,
Platonick men are by our Virgins meant.

30. UPON A NEW NOBLE-MAN

Thy Mother spun, thy Father fish’d with nets:
Thence thy Descent from a long Line thou get’st.

31. PENELOPE’S RIDDLE TO HER SUITORS

There is a thing* my Verse dares scarcely name,
Thou would’st I should on thee bestow the same;
The former Syllable’s mine husbands due;
Take thou, I am not hard, those other two.

* Osculum, a Kiss, Os, the Mouth, Culus, the Posteriors.

32. BIAS

Who said that “all that’s mine, with me I carry,”
Bias the wife, It seems, did never marry

33. CHRYSOSTOME IN GREEK EXACTLY SET FORTH AT EATON BY THAT RIGHT LEARNED KNIGHT HENRY SAVILLE. TO HENRY SAVILLE, 1612

Good-godly Chrysostome live’d in the flesh;
In Spirit, now deceas’d, he lives afresh.
He lives in’s Books: First life was Natures Fee,
The next to God, the third is due to thee.

34. THE PHILOSOPHERS WIFE

Vulcan fair Venus, Jove did Juno wed,
But chast Minerva was not married;
Why so? She, wisest of the Deities,
Would wed not man. Why? because no Man’s wise.

35. PROPRIA QUARTO MODO *

He falsely spake, who said that Thais was common;
Each, every man has singly Thais, as Woman.

* Omni homini soli et semper

36. A PAIR OF FOOLS

Claud’us like Mule,* Gorgon like Hin, is slow.
Both for their dulness to their Parents owe.

* Mule comes from a He-Ass and a Mare. ** A little Mule comes from an Horse and a Shee-Ass.

37. TO EDWARD SACKVILLE, THE EARL OF DORSETS ONLY BROTHER, RETURNED FROM FRANCE

Nature thy prudent Mother gave thee Wit,
Experience abroad improved it.
From Sirens Songs, and Circes charms th’ art come
More sage, though with more age, unto thine Home.

38. OF JEALOUSIE. ENGLISH-FRENCH-ITALIAN

Why do th’ Italians, in more grievous sort
Than French or English, take their Wives stoln sport?
Beast’s worse than Bird; Th’ Italians wife’s loose smile
Him bestiates:* French-English Birds** the while.
English and French are Birds: th’ Italian
Sole horn’d Beast, of these three must lead the Van.

* Becco Cornuto, an He Goat. ** Un cocu in French, in English a Cuckold; Cuculus.

39. SOCRATICAL WISDOME

All things I thought I knew; But now confess
The more I know, I know, I know the less.

40. KING ARTHUR’S ROUND TABLE

The Delphick Oracle will’d write (no Fable)
The seven wise mens Names in a round Table.
So thy Knights Name, wise Arthur, first and last
On the round Table were in order plac’t.

41. SUBSIDIE

Clergy, Purse-Prayers; People Bodies bring,
The Nobles Courage-Coyn, t’ assist the KIng.

42. A NEW WORLD

The Cabilists of many Worlds assure us:
Innumerous they be, saith Epicurus.
But count aright, sole two th’ account affords,
That old of Deeds, our now-new World of Words.

43. TWO-FAC’D JANUS

Thy force of Wit, and strength of Memory
Before, behind, to see thou dost apply.

44. EARTH’S BODY

Th’ Earth’s Bones are Stones, Skin Surface, Metalls Nerves.
The Grass for Hair, for Blood the Water serves.

45. TO PANNICUS, OF MAURUS

What Maurus hath, between thy Wife and Three
He doth divide, thou Words, and Deeds hath she.

46. OF PAULA, AN ENGLISH DISSIMULATRIX

With painted Face, with counterfeit Address
Thy custome is, to dress thy wickedness.
Thou driv’st the Drones, dull Cattle, from thy Stall:
And what’s thy Love, but Honey mixed with Gall?

47. A PHYSICIAN AND LAWYER

Just’nan gives Honours, Galen Wealth, so be
This be no Patient, nor Client he.

48. TO EDWARD WOTTON, BARON &c., ONE OF HIS MAJESTIES PRIVY COUNCIL

He’s dead who did his place to thee resign,
Which was before, in Pallas judgement, thine.
None worthier than thou this place t’ inherit;
And thy great worth a greater place doth merit.

49. GALEN; ANAGRAM, ANGEL

Galen, art Angel good or bad? A god
Angel, preserving Health, if understood.

50. BLIND LOVE IS DEAF

Their Wives defaults kind Husbands will not see.
Who truly love, by love all-blinded be.
Against their Dears they trust nor Eyes, nor Ears:
Thus Love not only Blind, but Deaf appears.

51. OF DINDIMUS, A MERCHANT

Arithmeticks three first parts learn’d thou hast;
Lear but the fourth, thou shalt be bless’d at last.

52. ANAGRAMMA UXORIS, THE ANAGRAM OF A WIFE. ORCUS AND UXOR: BUT THE ENGLISH WORDS WILL NOT COMPLEAT IT

“The Womb and Tomb insatiable are,”
Saith the wise king:* He did them both compare:
Who falls on Wife, descends into the Pit:
A Wife in sense, not sound is like unt’ it.

* Prov. 30.13.

53. THE ANSWER

A Wife I’m nam’d, not that I vex the man,
But that mine Housewifes care’s Quotidian:
Is Man in Woman as Belzeb’s n Hell?
Man’s Satan then, if Woman be that Cell.

54. THE RELIGIOUS

What’s well done’s ill done, if in publick done.

THE POLITICIAN

What’s ill done’s well done, if reveal’d to none.

55. THREE GODDESSES

Chast Juno, wanton Venus, Pallas learn’d,
Pure Virg,’s rare between those two discern’d.

56. ENGLISH PROTEUS

New fashions in Apparel ’states to wast:
Sole Pleasure pleaseth us, though lost at last.

57. ONE PROTECTS TWO. THE SAYING OF HENRY 4 THE FRENCH KING

One King protects two Kingdoms, yet both fai’ld
Thee to protect but one when Death th’ assail’d.

58. THE BIRTH AND SCITE OF THE SUN (site

The sun, fourth, midst of the Planets seven:
The fourth day* made, plac’d in the midst of Heaven.

* TheSun was created the fourth day. Gen. 1.14.

59. THE SEPULCHERS OF CAESAR, POMPEY AND CRASSUS

Africk for Pompey, Asia doth mourn
For Crassus, Europe hath great Caesars urn.

60. URBAN BUILDINGS MOST URBANE, OF HENRY, EARL OF NORTHAMPTON

The Structure of an House, Beneath, Above,
The Builders Ingenuity doth prove.
Who raise rude Piles of Buildings (to thy Praise)
By this Example may their Buildings raise.

61. TO ORANUS

Thy Wifes Rich Sire oft said, “This Daughter mine
In stable Wedlock I to thee will joyn”:
Too stable Wedlock hath you joyn’d, sith she (Since
So much instable is in love to thee.

62. OF FAELIX

Faelix through all the City waks per deiu,
Who scarce two Cities in the World did view.
Who many Men and Cities saw, the Poor
In his own City beggeth at the door.

63. FRANCIS DRAKE

No time shall Drake forget; He cross’d the Seas
And Drake-like swam unto th’ Antipodes.

OR THIS

Drakes Name and Fame no time shall ravel out,
He sail’d, amid the Seas, the World about.

64. MAN

Before thy Birth (which thou remembrest not)
Thou nothing wert; Dead, something is thy lot.

65. OF PHOEBUS AND NEPTUNE

The Sun’s of swift, the Sea’s of swifter force;
That runs but once, this twice a day its course.

66. UXOR VI(N)CTA, THAT IS, A WIFE BOUND, CONQUER’D

The Brides Tongue brid’led, th’ Husband’s Conquerer:
He sole o’ercomes his Wife, that quiets her.

67. NAKED TRUTH. OF ALETHUS

If (as saith Plato) Vertue naked might
Be seen, ’twould fill mens hearts with rare Delight.
Alethus (as ’tis said) saw Vertues* four
Naked, at Venice, and did them deflour.

*Four Curtizans, call’d by the names of the four Vertues.

68. OF BACCHUS AND BYRRHIA, WINE AND BEER

Wine simple-single’s prais’d, but double Beer:
Double is good, but single best doth cheer.

69. OF GELLIA

To the first Matter Gellia inclines,
That all forms fancies, this sole Masculines.

70. OF PAPILUS, PULLING OFF HIS HOAR HAIRS

Thou need’st not pull thine hoar hairs from thine head,
Proceed in Greek,* they of themselves will shed.

* Riot.

71. BE NOT MANY MASTERS

While none would Scholars be, but Masters all;
All Scholars, none we can a Master call.

72. HENRY 8, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

This Title Leo Pope,* a Florentine,
To th’ King of Flow’rs and Lions did assign.

* Leo the tenth, a Florentine by Nation, 1521

73. TO POPE LEO

That Title, with the Sword thou gav’st the King:
He thee denies; the Sword thy Death did bring.

74. THE PRIDE OF LIFE

Man, though of vile Earth made, with Pride doth swell,
Th’ Earth made of nothing wells with man as well.
So man like th’ Earth aspires above his kind,
Th’ Earth mounts in Mountain, Man mounts up in Mind.

75. TO GUARENE TOUNSEND, LAWYER

Thy Tongue no Law-court courts, nor avaricious
Is prostitute t’ excuse the guilty, vicious:
Thou dost contemplate Natures Mysteries,
Scripture, Laws, History thou dost revise:
Three Graces, seven Arts, Sisters thrice three
Causes to know, but not to plead, teach thee.

76. GENESIS AND SAINT MATHEW’S GOSPEL

Christ’s Birth in this, Adam’s that Book is in;
Gospel and Law from Genesis begin.

77. SOME BODY, NO BODY

The sacred Hebrew Text Men Souls doth stile,
As if that Man were solely Soul the while.
None, nobody, one, some body we call
In English, as if we were Bodies All.

78. A LOVE FANCY

If, Lesbia, thou wert the Zodiack,
I would I were the Sun, for thy sweet sake:
The Sun compleats the Zodiack once a year,
But once a NIght I would compleat thy Sphear.

79. TO BOOK-GELDERS

If wise, then gild my Book, but geld it not,
That other Books by this may be begot.

80. TO GELLIA, A LADY OF THE COURT

In earnest speak; Why dost thou so profuse
Give to that many promis’d for ones use?
’Tis an old custome, common as a Clock,
That many Keys should be t’ a single Lock.

81. EVE’S AND THE SERPENTS CONVENTICLE

By Eves and Satans Parley, sin did come;
O would she had been deaf, or he been dumb!

82. TO ROBERT JOHNSON, A SCOTTISH-BRITAIN

Reading thy British History,* I love
Thy self, I like thy Method, both approve:
No such Book’s extant, that’s more genuine,
More genial, than that same Book of thine;
Excepting Moore,** Who wrote the Life, the fate,
Of Richard:*** Thee, next him, I emulate.

* Of the affairs of great Britain and Ireland, In his Time. ** Sir Thomas Moore. *** Richard the third.

83. OF HIMSELF

I of the Minor Brothers orders am:
My Fathers Lands to th’ Major Brother came.

84. SELL ALL THOU HAST, AND GIVE TO THE POOR. TO PAETUS

Of this Advice thou kept’st the former part,
But not the latter: There remiss thou wert.
Th’ hast sold, and given all; Part to thy Whore,
Part to thy Riot; nothing to the Poor.

85. NOR OF EVILS THE LEAST / OF GOOD THE GREATEST

Thouh she were best, I would not have my Bride
A Giant, nor a Dwarf, though worst beside.

86. SIRENS SONGS

If thou thy Reins wouldst keep from Blain-from Bane; (Blight
Flee Sirens Songs, thou shalt be safe, and sane.

87. A LOVE LETTER

Love wants not Hope, in hope the Lover lives:
But Hope without thee-thine, me nothing gives.

88. BLIND LOVE

Love and Ebriety are like: They blind
Mens Eyes, of Body this, that of the Mind.

89. THE WILL OF S. T.

Thou givest all, no longer here to live,
Nor hence to take it: Couldst? Th’ would’st nothing give.

90. AIR, WATER, EARTH, HELL

The sordid Earth receives the dross of th’Air:
Earth’s dregs unto th’ infernal Caves repair.
What Evil’s in the World shall t’ Hell descend:
As pond’rous things unto the Center tend.

91. THE CHRISTIAN ZODIACK

The twelve Apostles, their Stars, four times three,
My Zodiack, Faith, and Christ my Sun shall be.

92. ERASMUS PRAISE OF FOLLY

Thou didst not folly praise, Erasmus, solely:
Thee many praise, and many praise thy folly.

93. OF GYMNICUS, A PASTOR

Thou seed’st thy flock with words, they thee with weeds;
Thy care’s for Tythes, no care to cure misdeeds.

94. OF DARDANUS

Paleness in Face, Leanness in Corps doth sit,
Thou nothing hast that’s fat, but thy gross wit.

95. PLEAS IN THE YEAR 1609, BETWEEN ROBERT CALVIN, PLANTIFF, AND JOHN BINGLEY AND RICHARD GRYFFIN, DEFENDANTS

When the Post-nati were in Law of late,
Obert the Son of James o’recame; blest’fate:
Th’ one English, th’ other Welsh, the Victor Scot
O’recame them, guilty both: A lucky lot.
I love good luck: Britains, Hearts-Hands unite;
This Island shall no more be bipartite.
Their Sons Sons Sons shall see, there shall be tÒen
One Kingdom under but one King, Amen.

96. OF OUR TIMES DISCORDS

Logick doth things define, divide beside:
But we no things define, all things divide.

97. EVIL MANNERS PRODUCE GOOD LAW

God t’ Adam gave a Law before his Sin,
Ill manners therefore all Laws brought not it.

98. FOR ARTICLES OF FAITH. 1, 2, 3, 4

One God believe, two Bibles,** Symbols three,***
Let Faith the fourth, with the four Councils be.

* The two Testaments. b. The Apostles, Athanasius, and Nicene Creed.

99. TO PRINCE HENRY

As a great Bear a little Lion flees,
So flees great Hope, when small things come it sees;
Most happy Prince, mine hope depends on thee;
From me take Hope, and I shall happy be.

100. TO THE READER

Narcissus* I leave off, when Verse I write,
Do thou the same, when thou my Verse dost cite.

* Self-love.

Go to Book VII