Epigrams: An Epitaph on S.P.

A Child of Queen Elizabeth's Chapel

Original Text: 
Ben Jonson, The workes of Benjamin Jonson (London: Will Stansby, 1616). STC 14751.
2      This little story:
3And know, for whom a tear you shed
4      Death's self is sorry.
5'Twas a child, that so did thrive
6      In grace and feature,
7As heaven and nature seem'd to strive
8      Which own'd the creature.
9Years he number'd scarce thirteen
10      When fates turn'd cruel,
11Yet three fill'd zodiacs had he been
12      The stage's jewel;
13And did act (what now we moan)
14      Old men so duly,
16      He play'd so truly.
17So, by error, to his fate
18      They all consented;
19But viewing him since (alas, too late)
20      They have repented;
21And have sought (to give new birth)
22      In baths to steep him;
23But being so much too good for earth,
24      Heaven vows to keep him.


1] Works 1616. S.P. was Salomon Pavy, a boy-actor in the children's company of the Queen's Revels, who played Anaides in Jonson's Cynthia's Revels. He died in 1602. Back to Line
15] Here Jonson retouches a fancy of Martial, Epig. X, 53, on Scorpus, a chariot-driver in the Circus Maximus, who in a short career won many victories (Pavy was an actor for only three years). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.155.