Ben Jonson

  • From “The Vision of Delight”
    BREAK, Fantasy, from thy cave of cloud,
      And spread thy purple wings,
    Now all thy figures are allowed,
      And various shapes of things;
    Create of airy forms a stream,
    It must have blood, and naught of phlegm;

  • From the Greek of Philostratus
    From “The Forest”
    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
      Doth ask a drink divine...

  • 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, enamored, do wish, so they might...

  • From “Epicœne; or, the Silent Woman,” Act I. Sc. 1.

    STILL to be neat, still to be drest,
    As you were going to a feast;
    Still to be powdered, still perfumed,—
    Lady, it is to be presumed,
    Though art’s hid causes are not found,
    All is not sweet, all...

  • To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
    Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
    While I confess thy writings to be such
    As neither man nor Muse can praise too much.*        *        *        *        *
                            Soul of the age!
    The applause...

  • This figure, 1 that thou here seest put,
    It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
    Wherein the Graver had a strife
    With Nature to outdo the life:
    O, could he but have drawn his wit
    As well in brass, as he hath hit
    His face; the Print would then surpass...

  •     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 sear:
            A lily of a day
            Is fairer far in May,
        Although it fall and die that...

  •    [Wither’s Song, or “Sonnet,” appeared first in his “Fidelia” in 1615, and later with some changes in “Fair Virtue,” 1622. Jonson’s parody, here given, came out in a Collection of Verses, in 1620.]

    SHALL I mine affections slack,
    ’Cause I see a woman’s Black?
    Or myself,...

  • O, Do not wanton with those eyes,
      Lest I be sick with seeing;
    Nor cast them down, but let them rise,
      Lest shame destroy their being.

    O, be not angry with those fires,
      For then their threats will kill me;
    Nor look too kind on my desires,...

  • It was a beauty that I saw,—
      So pure, so perfect, as the frame
      Of all the universe were lame
    To that one figure, could I draw,
    Or give least line of it a law:
      A skein of silk without a knot!
    A fair march made without a halt!
    A curious...