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刘岱业

刘岱业先生,上海人。我们班的精读教授之一。 刘岱业老师平易近人,与他的学生打成一片,谈笑毫无拘束,得到同学们的爱戴。刘先生喜爱网球运动,曾是南开大学老年网球队的主力成员。

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English Dramatist, Poet, Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
benjohnson
Portrait of Ben Jonson
(This work of art is in public domain.)

The English playwright and poet Ben Jonson (1572-1637) is best known for his satiric comedies. An immensely learned man with an irascible and domineering personality, he was, next to Shakespeare, the greatest dramatic genius of the English Renaissance. If Jonson's reputation as a playwright has traditionally been linked to Shakespeare, his reputation as a poet has, since the early twentieth century, been linked to that of John Donne. In this comparison, Jonson represents the cavalier strain of poetry, which emphasized grace and clarity of expression; Donne, by contrast, epitomized the metaphysical school of poetry, with its reliance on strained, baroque metaphors and often vague phrasing. The best of Jonson's lyrics have remained current since his time; periodically, they experience a brief vogue, as after the publication of Peter Whalley's edition of 1756. Jonson's poetry continues to interest scholars for the light it sheds on English literary history, particularly as regards politics, systems of patronage, and intellectual attitudes. For the general reader, Jonson's reputation rests on a few lyrics that, though brief, are surpassed for grace and precision by very few Renaissance poems: "On My First Son"; "To Celia"; "To Penshurst"; and the epitaph on boy player Solomon Pavy.

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On My First Son
by Ben Jonson
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou'wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scap'd world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, ask'd, say here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

To John Donne
by Ben Jonson

DONNE, the delight of Phoebus, and each Muse,
Who, to thy one, all other braines refuse ;
Whose every work, of thy most early wit,
Came forth example, and remaines so, yet ;
Longer a knowing, than most wits do live ;
And which no affection praise enough can give !
To it, thy language, letters, arts, best life,
Which might with halfe mankinde maintaine a strife ;
All which I meant to praise, and, yet, I would ;
But leave, because I cannot as I should !

Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H.
by Ben Jonson

Wouldst thou hear what man can say
In a little? Reader, stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die ;
Which in life did harbor give
To more virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was Elizabeth,
Th' other let it sleep with death ;
Fitter, where it died to tell,
Than that it lived at all. Farewell.


To Celia
by Ben Jonson

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 soule 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, a rosie wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did'st onely breath,
And sent'st it back to mee:
Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare,
Not of it selfe, but thee.

TO PENSHURST
by Ben Jonson

Thou art not, PENSHURST, built to envious show
Of touch, or marble ; nor canst boast a row
Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold :
Thou hast no lantern whereof tales are told,
Or stair, or courts ; but stand'st an ancient pile,
And these grudged at, art reverenced the while.
Thou joy'st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water ; therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport :
Thy mount, to which th'Dryads do resort,
Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made,
Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade ;
That taller tree, which of a nut was set,
At his great birth, where all the Muses met,
There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a sylvan taken with his flames ;
And thence the ruddy satyrs oft provoke
The lighter fauns to reach thy Lady's Oak.
Thy copse too, named of Gamage, thou hast there,
That never fails to serve thee seasoned deer
When thou wouldst feast, or exercise thy friends.
The lower land, that to the river bends,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed ;
The middle grounds thy mares and horses breed.
Each bank doth yield thee conies ; and the tops
Fertile of wood, Ashore and Sidneys copp's,
To crown thy open table, doth provide
The purpled pheasant with the speckled side :
The painted partridge lies in ev'ry field,
And for thy mess is willing to be killed.
And if the high-swoln Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loth the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come ;
The blushing apricot, and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach.
And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan ;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down ;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples ; some that think they make
The better cheeses, bring them ; or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands ; and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves in plum or pear.
But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know !
Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat,
Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat :
Where the same beer and bread, and self-same wine,
That is his lordship's, shall be also mine.
And I not fain to sit (as some this day,
At great men's tables) and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups ; nor standing by,
A waiter, doth my gluttony envy :
But gives me what I call, and lets me eat,
He knows below he shall find plenty of meat ;
Thy tables hoard not up for the next day,
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray
For fire, or lights, or livery ; all is there ;
As if thou then wert mine, or I reigned here :
There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay.
That found King JAMES, when hunting late, this way
With his brave son the Prince ; they saw thy fires
Shine bright on every hearth, as the desires
Of thy Penates had been set on flame
To entertain them ; or the country came,
With all their zeal, to warm their welcome here.
What (great, I will not say, but)sudden cheer
Didst thou then make'em ! and what praise was heaped
On thy good lady then ! who therein reaped
The just reward of her high huswifery ;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far ; and not a room, but drest,
As if it had expected such a guest !
These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all.
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.
His children thy great lord may call his own ;
A fortune, in this age, but rarely known.
They are, and have been taught religion ; thence
Their gentler spirits have sucked innocence.
Each morn and even, they are taught to pray,
With the whole household, and may, every day,
Read in their virtuous parents' noble parts
The mysteries of manners, arms, 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 dwells
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