Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN EXPOSTULATION WITH INIGO JONES, by BEN JONSON



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AN EXPOSTULATION WITH INIGO JONES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Master surveyor, you that first began
Last Line: With all remonstrance make an honest man.
Subject(s): Jones, Inigo (1573-1652)


Master Surveyor, you that first began
From thirty pound in pipkins, to the man
You are; from them leapt froth an architect,
Able to talk of Euclid, and correct
Both him and Archimede; damn Architas,
The noblest engineer that ever was!
Control Ctesibius: overbearing us
With mistook names out of Vitruvius!
Drawn Aristotle on us! And thence shown
How much architectonic is your own!
Whether the building of the stage or scene,
Or making of the properties it mean!
Visors or antics! Or it comprehend
Something your sir-ship doth not yet intend!
By all your titles, and whole style at once
Of tire-man, mountebank and Justice Jones,
I do salute you! Are you fitted yet?
Will any of these express your place or wit?
Or are you so ambitious 'bove your peers
You would be an asinigo, by your ears?
Why, much good do it you! Be what beast you will,
You'll be, as Langley said, an Inigo still.
What makes your wretchedness to bray so loud
In town and court? Are you grown rich and proud?
Your trappings will not change you. Change your mind:
No velvet sheath you wear, will alter kind.
A wooden dagger, is a dagger of wood
Though gold or ivory hafts would make it good.
What is the cause you pomp it so? I ask,
And all men echo, you have made a masque.
I chime that too: and I have met with those
That do cry up the machine, and the shows!
The majesty of Juno in the clouds,
And peering forth of Iris in the shrouds!
The ascent of Lady Fame which none could spy;
Not they that sided her, Dame Poetry,
Dame History, Dame Architecture too,
And Goody Sculpture, brought with much ado
To hold her up. O shows, shows, mighty shows!
The eloquence of masques! What need of prose,
Or verse, or sense to express immortal you?
You are the spectacles of state! 'Tis true
Court hieroglyphics, and all arts afford
In the mere perspective of an inch board!
You ask no more than certain politic eyes,
Eyes that can pierce into the mysteries
Of many colours, read them, and reveal
Mythology there painted on slit deal!
O, to make boards to speak! There is a task!
Painting and carpentry are the soul of masque!
Pack with your peddling poetry to the stage,
This is the money-get, mechanic age!
To plant the music where no ear can reach,
Attire the persons as no thought can teach
Sense what they are, which by a specious fine
Term of the architects is called design!
But in the practised truth destruction is
Of any art, beside what he calls his!
Whither, O whiter will this tireman grow?
His name is Skeuopoios we all know,
The maker of the properties; in sum
The scene, the engine! But he now is come
To be the music master, fabler too!
He is, or would be, the main dominus-do-
All in the work! And so shall still for Ben:
Be Inigo, the whistle, and his men!
He's warm on his feet now, he says, and can
Swim without cork! Why, thank the good Queen Anne.
I am too fat to envy him. He too lean
To be worth envy. Henceforth I do mean
To pity him, as smiling at his feat
Of lantern-lerry: with fuliginous heat
Whirling his whimsies, by a subtlety
Sucked from the veins of shop-philosophy.
What would he do now, giving his mind that way
In presentation of some puppet play!
Should but the king his justicehood employ
In setting forth of such a solemn toy!
How would he firk like Adam Overdo
Up and about! Dive into cellars too,
Disguised, and thence drag forth enormity,
Discover vice, commit absurdity,
Under the moral! Show he had a pate
Moulded or stroked up to survey a state!
O wise surveyor, wiser architect,
But wisest Inigo! Who can reflect
On the new priming of thy old sign posts
Reviving with fresh colours the pale ghosts
Of thy dead standards: or (with miracle) see
Thy twice conceived, thrice paid for imagery?
And not fall down before it and confess
Almighty architecture? Who no less
A goddess is, than painted cloth, deal boards,
Vermilion, lake, or cinnopar affords
Expression for, with that unbounded line
Aimed at in thy omnipotent design!
What poesy e'er was painted on a wall
That might compare with thee? What story shall
Of all the Worthies hope to outlast thy one,
So the materials be of Purbeck stone?
Live long the Feasting Room. And ere thou burn
Again, thy architect to ashes turn!
Whom not ten fires, nor a parliament can
With all remonstrance make an honest man.





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