George Sandys: Travel, Colonialism, and Tolerance in the Seventeenth Century

By James Ellison | Go to book overview

Appendix C

SANDYS AND BEN JONSON

I believe that Falkland painted a fine portrait of Sandys in his 'Eclogue on the Death of Ben Jonson'. A Stoic philosopher appears in the poem, 'Dorus', who appears to be a traveller and scholar now settled locally. In accordance with Lipsius' neo-Stoicism, the theme of friendship is well to the fore:

Dorus, who long had known men, books, and townes, At last the honour of our woods and downes, Had often heard his songs, was often fir'd With their inchanting power, ere he retired, And ere himselfe to our still groves he brought To meditate on what his Muse had taught; Here all his joy was to revolve alone, All that her musicke to his soule had showne, Or in all meetings to divert the streame Of our discourse, and make his friend his theame . . . 1

Falkland elsewhere compares Sandys to Ulysses, and the first line of this section echoes the opening of the Odyssey. 2 Sandys was friendly with Ben Jonson, as we have seen, and his admiration for the great poet is probably the subject of this passage. If Dorus does has a specific identity, it cannot be Sir Kenelm Digby or Thomas Carew, both of whom are mentioned by name later in the poem, along with Thomas Killigrew and Jasper Maine. Equally, it cannot be Falkland himself: he refers to his own poetry with persistent, commendable modesty, whereas Dorus is 'the honour of our woods and downes'. If Sandys is Falkland's Dorus, this passage throws a fascinating light on Sandys's reverence for Jonson in later years.

____________________
1
Falkland, The Poems, p.388.
2
The cities of a world of nations,

With all their manners, mindes, and fashions, He saw and knew ...

from Chapman's Homer: The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Lesser Homerica, ed. Allardyce Nicoll (1957), p.12. Falkland compares Sandys to Ulysses at Passion, sig.a7r; Works, vol.2, p.414.

-259-

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