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BEN JONSON

1573-1637

194                                            Hymn to Diana

QUEEN and huntress, chaste and fair,
   Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
   State in wonted manner keep:
     Hesperus entreats thy light,
     Goddess excellently bright.
Earth, let not thy envious shade
   Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthias shining orb was mad
   Heaven to clear when day did close:
     Bless us then with wishàed sight,
     Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
   And thy crystal-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
   Space to breathe, how short soever:
     Thou that makst a day of night
     Goddess excellently bright.

195                                                  To Celia

DRINK to me only with thine eyes,
   And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
   And Ill not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
   Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Joves nectar sup,
   I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
   Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope that there
   It could not witherd be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
   And sentst it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
   Not of itself but thee!

196                                             Simplex Munditiis

STILL to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powderd, still perfumed:
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though arts hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all th adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

197                                              The Shadow

FOLLOW a shadow, it still flies you;
   Seem to fly it, it will pursue:
So court a mistress, she denies you;
   Let her alone, she will court you.
     Say, are not women truly, then,
     Styled but the shadows of us men?
At morn and even, shades are longest;
   At noon they are or short or none:
So men at weakest, they are strongest,
   But grant us perfect, theyre not known.
     Say, are not women truly, then,
     Styled but the shadows of us men?

198                                         A Nymphs Secret

I LOVE, and He loves me again,
   Yet dare I not tell, Who;
For if the Nymphs should know my Swain,
   I fear theyd love him too!
   Yet if it be not known;
The pleasure is as good as none;
For thats a narrow joy, is but our own.
Ill tell! that, if they be not glad,
   They may yet envy me;
But then, if I grow jealous mad,
   And of them, pitied be,
   It were a plague bove scorn;
And yet it cannot be forborne,
Unless my heart would, as my thought, be torn.
He is (if they can find him) fair,
   And fresh and fragrant too
As summers sky, or purgàed air,
   And looks as lilies do
   That are, this morning, blown.
Yet, yet, I doubt, he is not known;
And fear much more, that more of him be shown.
But he hath eyes so round and bright,
   As make away my doubt,
Where Love may all his torches light,
   Though hate had put them out.
   But then, t increase my fears,
What Nymph soeer, his voice but hears,
Will be my rival, though she have but ears.
Ill tell no more, and yet I love,
   And he loves me. Yet no
One unbecoming thought doth move
   From either heart, I know;
   But so exempt from blame
As it would be to each a fame,
If love, or fear, would let me tell his name.

199                                                The Triumph

SEE the Chariot at hand here of Love,
   Wherein my Lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
   And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
            Unto her beauty;
And enamourd do wish, so they might
            But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Thorough swords, thorough seas, whither she would ride.
Do but look on her eyes, they do light
   All that Loves world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
   As Loves star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her foreheads smoother
            Than words that soothe her;
And from her archd brows such a grace
            Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good, of the elements strife.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow
   Before rude hands have touchd it?
Have you markd but the fall of the snow
   Before the soil hath smutchd it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver,
            Or swans down ever?
Or have smelt o the bud o the brier,
            Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she!

200                                                  An Elegy

THOUGH beauty be the mark of praise,
    And yours of whom I sing be such
    As not the world can praise too much,
Yet tis your Virtue now I raise.
A virtue, like allay1 so gone
    Throughout your form as, though that move
    And draw and conquer all mens love,
This subjects you to love of one.
Wherein you triumph yetbecause
    Tis of your flesh, and that you use
    The noblest freedom, not to choose
Against or faith or honours laws.
But who should less expect from you?
    In whom alone Love lives again:
    By whom he is restored to men,
And kept and bred and brought up true.
His falling temples you have reard,
    The witherd garlands taen away;
    His altars kept from that decay
That envy wishd, and nature feard:
And on them burn so chaste a flame,
    With so much loyaltys expense,
    As Love to acquit such excellence
Is gone himself into your name.
And you are hethe deity
    To whom all lovers are designd
    That would their better objects find;
Among which faithful troop am I
Who as an offring at your shrine
    Have sung this hymn, and here entreat
    One spark of your diviner heat
To light upon a love of mine:
Which if it kindle not, but scant
    Appear, and that to shortest view;
    Yet give me leave to adore in you
What I in her am grieved to want!

1 allay: alloy.

201                                             The Noble Balm

       HIGH-SPIRITED friend,
I send nor balms nor corsives to your wound:
       Your fate hath found
A gentler and more agile hand to tend
The cure of that which is but corporal;
And doubtful days, which were named critical,
       Have made their fairest flight
       And now are out of sight.
Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind
       Wrappd in this paper lie,
Which in the taking if you misapply,
       You are unkind.
       Your covetous hand,
Happy in that fair honour it hath gaind,
       Must now be reind.
True valour doth her own renown command
In one full action; nor have you now more
To do, than be a husband of that store.
       Think but how dear you bought
       This fame which you have caught:
Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth.
       Tis wisdom, and that high,
For men to use their fortune reverently,
       Even in youth.

Epitaphs

202                                 (i)      On Elizabeth L. H.

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 harbour give
To more Virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was Elizabeth,
The other, let it sleep with death:
Fitter, where it died, to tell
Than that it lived at all. Farewell.

203                                    (ii)      On Salathiel Pavy

A child of Queen Elizabeths Chapel

WEEP with me, all you that read
    This little story;
And know, for whom a tear you shed
    Deaths self is sorry.
Twas a child that so did thrive
    In grace and feature,
As Heaven and Nature seemd to strive
    Which ownd the creature.
Years he numberd scarce thirteen
    When Fates turnd cruel,
Yet three filld zodiacs had he been
    The Stages jewel;
And did act (what now we moan)
    Old men so duly,
As sooth the Parcae thought him one,
    He playd so truly.
So, by error, to his fate
    They all consented;
But, viewing him since, alas, too late!
    They have repented;
And have sought, to give new birth,
    In baths to steep him;
But, being so much too good for earth,
    Heaven vows to keep him.

204                                            A Part of an Ode

To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that noble pair,
Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison

     IT is not growing like a tree
     In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
            A lily of a day
            Is fairer far in May,
     Although it fall and die that night;
     It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.
     Call, noble Lucius, then for wine,
     And let thy looks with gladness shine:
Accept this garland, plant it on thy head,
And thinknay, knowthy Morisons not dead.
            He leapd the present age,
            Possest with holy rage
     To see that bright eternal Day
     Of which we Priests and Poets say
Such truths as we expect for happy men;
And there he lives with memoryand Ben
Jonson: who sung this of him, ere he went
                  Himself to rest,
Or tast a part of that full joy he meant
   To have exprest
   In this bright Asterism,
   Where it were friendships schism
Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry
            To separate these twy
            Lights, the Dioscuri,
And keep the one half from his Harry.
But fate doth so alternate the design,
Whilst that in Heavn, this light on earth must shine
     And shine as you exalted are!
     Two names of friendship, but one star:
Of hearts the union: and those not by chance
Made, or indenture, or leased out to advance
            The profits for a time.
            No pleasures vain did chime
     Of rimes or riots at your feasts,
     Orgies of drink or feignd protests;
But simple love of greatness and of good,
That knits brave minds and manners more than blood.
     This made you first to know the Why
     You liked, then after, to apply
That liking, and approach so one the tother
Till either grew a portion of the other:
            Each stylàed by his end
            The copy of his friend.
     You lived to be the great surnames
     And titles by which all made claims
Unto the Virtuenothing perfect done
But as a CARY or a MORISON.

And such the force the fair example had
        As they that saw
The good, and durst not practise it, were glad
        That such a law
     Was left yet to mankind,
     Where they might read and find
FRIENDSHIP indeed was written, not in words,
          And with the heart, not pen,
          Of two so early men,
Whose lines her rules were and records:
Who, ere the first down bloomàed on the chin,
Had sowd these fruits, and got the harvest in.

 

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