Ben Jonson's Epigram, On the Famous Voyage, Shelton and Heyden

Ben Jonson's On the famous Voyage, last epigram of his 1616 Epigramme, talks about the adventure of two "wights" called "a Shelton, and a Heyden."
We have a Shelton, and a Heyden got,
Had power to act, what they to faine had not.
. . .
I Sing the brave adventure of two wights,
And pity 'tis, I cannot call 'hem knights:
Shelton is close to Wilton.
Heyden is close to Sidney.
Shelton needs w i to spell Wilton.
Heyden needs s to spell Sidney.
"Wights" provides the needed w i and s.

Shelton and Wilton share letter-lton.
Shelton minus -lton equals She.
Heyden and Sidney share letter-yden.
Heyden minus -yden equals He.

Shelton and Heyden can be viewed as She-lton and He-yden.
He-yden is a perfect anagram of he-deny.
She-lton is a perfect anagram of she-t'lon;
lon is an obsolete form of loan or launch.

Shelton and Heyden are one, both She and He,
She to launch the voyage, and He to deny.

Ben Jonson sealed the full name in the last four lines:
    In memorie of which most liquid deed,
The citie since hath rais'd a Pyramide.
And I could wish for their eterniz'd sakes,
My Muse had plough'd with his, that sung A-iax.
Here the pyramid is for Mary Sidney. Wilton poets often used Pyramid to seal Mary Sidney, as in John Milton's starre-ypointing pyramid.

Mary Sidney had ploughed Shakespeare for Philip Sidney.

Philip Sidney is the A-iax (Ajax) here. The hyphen hints at a-i'ax, one who dies in ax.

No comments:

Post a Comment