Imágenes de página

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid ?

O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

(Sonnet 65.)


But be contented : when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away,
My life hath in this line some interest,
Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
The very part was consecrate to thee:
The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead,
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.
The worth of that is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains.

(Sonnet 74.)


Or I shall live your epitaph to make,

you survive when I in earth am rotten;
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombéd in men's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read,
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse
When all the breathers of this world are dead ;

You still shall live—such virtue hath my pen— Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

(Sonnet 81.)

BEN JONSON. (Born 1573. Educated at Westminster School, under William Camden. Produced his first comedy, Every Man in His Humour, 1596; his first tragedy, Sejanus,

1603. Published the first volume of his Works, in. cluding Plays, Epigrams, and The Forest, 1616. The University of Oxford conferred on him the degree M.A., 1619. Died 1637. The second folio volume of his works published 1641.)


Pray thee, take care, that tak'st my book in hand, To read it well; that is to understand.

(Epigram 1.)


It will be look'd for, Book, when some but see
Thy title, EPIGRAMS, and named of me,
Thou shouldst be bold, licentious, full of gall,
Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and tooth'd

withal ;

Become a petulant thing, hurl ink, and wit,
As madmen stones; not caring whom they hit.
Deceive their malice, who could wish it so;
And by thy wiser temper, let men know
Thou art not covetous of least self fame,
Made from the hazard of another's shame;
Much less, with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter, or vain gaze.

He that departs with his own honesty
For vulgar praise, doth it too dearly buy.

(Epigram 2.)


When I would know thee GOODYERE, my thought

looks Upon thy well

made choice of friends and books; Then do I love thee, and behold thy ends In making thy friends books, and thy books

friends : Now I must give thy life and deed, the voice Attending such a study, such a choice; Where, though 't be love that to thy praise doth

move, It was a knowledge that begat that love.

(Epigram 86).


It is the Muse alone, can raise to heaven,
And at her strong arm's end, hold up, and even,
The souls she loves. Those other glorious notes,
Inscribed in touch or marble, or the coats

Painted, or carv'd upon our great men's tombs,
Or in their windows, do but prove the wombs
That bred them, graves : when they were born

they died,
That had no muse to make their fame abide.
How many equal with the Argive queen,
Have beauty known, yet none so famous seen?
Achilles was not first, that valiant was,
Or, in an army's head, that lock'd in brass
Gave killing strokes. There were brave men

before Ajax, or Idomen, or all the store That Homer brought to Troy; yet none so live, Because they lack'd the sacred pen could give Like life unto them. Who heav'd Hercules Unto the stars, or the Tyndarides ? Who placed Jason's Argo in the sky, Or set bright Ariadne's crown so high ? Who made a lamp of Berenice's hair, Or lifted Cassiopeia in her chair, But only poets, rapt with rage divine? And such, or my hopes fail, shall make you shine.

(Epistle to Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland : from The Forest.")

« AnteriorContinuar »