Poems by Ben Jonson
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 5
Goddess excellently bright.
Earth let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear when day did close: 10
Bless us then with wish┬d sight
Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart
And thy crystal-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart 15
Space to breathe how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night！
Goddess excellently bright.
DRINK to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise 5
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath
Not so much honouring thee 10
As giving it a hope that there
It could not wither'd be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows and smells I swear 15
Not of itself but thee!
STILL to be neat still to be drest
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd still perfumed:
Lady it is to be presumed
Though art's hid causes are not found 5
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 10
Than all th' adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes but not my heart.
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 5
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 they're not known. 10
Say are not women truly then
Styled but the shadows of us men?
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 5
Unto her beauty;
And enamour'd do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride. 10
Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As Love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother 15
Than words that soothe her;
And from her arch'd 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. 20
Have you seen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touch'd it?
Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow
Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver, 25
Or swan's 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! 30
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 allay so gone 5
Throughout your form as though that move
And draw and conquer all men's love
This subjects you to love of one.
Wherein you triumph yet！because
'Tis of your flesh and that you use 10
The noblest freedom not to choose
Against or faith or honour's laws.
But who should less expect from you?
In whom alone Love lives again:
By whom he is restored to men 15
And kept and bred and brought up true.
His falling temples you have rear'd
The wither'd garlands ta'en away;
His altars kept from that decay
That envy wish'd and nature fear'd: 20
And on them burn so chaste a flame
With so much loyalty's expense
As Love to acquit such excellence
Is gone himself into your name.
And you are he！the deity 25
To whom all lovers are design'd
That would their better objects find;
Among which faithful troop am I！
Who as an off'ring at your shrine
Have sung this hymn and here entreat 30
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 35
What I in her am grieved to want!
GLOSS: allay] alloy.
A Farewell to the World
FALSE world good night! since thou hast brought
That hour upon my morn of age;
Henceforth I quit thee from my thought
My part is ended on thy stage.
Yes threaten do. Alas! I fear 5
As little as I hope from thee:
I know thou canst not show nor bear
More hatred than thou hast to me.
My tender first and simple years
Thou didst abuse and then betray; 10
Since stir'd'st up jealousies and fears
When all the causes were away.
Then in a soil hast planted me
Where breathe the basest of thy fools;
Where envious arts profess┬d be 15
And pride and ignorance the schools;
Where nothing is examined weigh'd
But as 'tis rumour'd so believed;
Where every freedom is betray'd
And every goodness tax'd or grieved. 20
But what we're born for we must bear:
Our frail condition it is such
That what to all may happen here
If 't chance to me I must not grutch.
Else I my state should much mistake 25
To harbour a divided thought
From all my kind！that for my sake
There should a miracle be wrought.
No I do know that I was born
To age misfortune sickness grief: 30
But I will bear these with that scorn
As shall not need thy false relief.
Nor for my peace will I go far
As wanderers do that still do roam;
But make my strengths such as they are 35
Here in my bosom and at home.
The Noble Balm
I send nor balms nor cor'sives to your wound:
Your fate hath found
A gentler and more agile hand to tend
The cure of that which is but corporal; 5
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
Wrapp'd in this paper lie 10
Which in the taking if you misapply
You are unkind.
Your covetous hand
Happy in that fair honour it hath gain'd
Must now be rein'd. 15
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: 20
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.
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 5
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: 10
Fitter where it died to tell
Than that it lived at all. Farewell.
On Salathiel Pavy
A child of Queen Elizabeth's Chapel
WEEP with me all you that read
This little story;
And know for whom a tear you shed
Death's self is sorry.
'Twas a child that so did thrive 5
In grace and feature
As Heaven and Nature seem'd to strive
Which own'd the creature.
Years he number'd scarce thirteen
When Fates turn'd cruel 10
Yet three fill'd zodiacs had he been
The stage's jewel;
And did act (what now we moan)
Old men so duly
As sooth the Parcae thought him one 15
He play'd so truly.
So by error to his fate
They all consented;
But viewing him since alas too late!
They have repented; 20
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.
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 5
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. 10
Call noble Lucius then for wine
And let thy looks with gladness shine:
Accept this garland plant it on thy head
And think！nay know！thy Morison 's not dead.
He leap'd the present age 15
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 memory！and Ben 20
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 25
Where it were friendship's 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. 30
But fate doth so alternate the design
Whilst that in Heav'n 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 35
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 feign'd protests; 40
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 t'other 45
Till either grew a portion of the other:
Each styl┬d by his end
The copy of his friend.
You lived to be the great surnames
And titles by which all made claims 50
Unto the Virtue！nothing 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 55
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 60
Of two so early men
Whose lines her rules were and records:
Who ere the first down bloom┬d on the chin
Had sow'd these fruits and got the harvest in.