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To Ben Jonson upon Occasion of his Ode of Defiance Annexed t

Written by: Thomas Carew | Biography
 | Quotes (3) |
 'Tis true, dear Ben, thy just chastising hand 
Hath fix'd upon the sotted age a brand 
To their swoll'n pride and empty scribbling due; 
It can nor judge, nor write, and yet 'tis true 
Thy comic muse, from the exalted line 
Touch'd by thy Alchemist, doth since decline 
From that her zenith, and foretells a red 
And blushing evening, when she goes to bed; 
Yet such as shall outshine the glimmering light 
With which all stars shall gild the following night. 
Nor think it much, since all thy eaglets may 
Endure the sunny trial, if we say 
This hath the stronger wing, or that doth shine 
Trick'd up in fairer plumes, since all are thine. 
Who hath his flock of cackling geese compar'd 
With thy tun'd choir of swans? or else who dar'd 
To call thy births deform'd? But if thou bind 
By city-custom, or by gavelkind, 
In equal shares thy love on all thy race, 
We may distinguish of their sex, and place; 
Though one hand form them, and though one brain strike 
Souls into all, they are not all alike. 
Why should the follies then of this dull age 
Draw from thy pen such an immodest rage 
As seems to blast thy else-immortal bays, 
When thine own tongue proclaims thy itch of praise? 
Such thirst will argue drouth. No, let be hurl'd 
Upon thy works by the detracting world 
What malice can suggest; let the rout say, 
The running sands, that, ere thou make a play, 
Count the slow minutes, might a Goodwin frame 
To swallow, when th' hast done, thy shipwreck'd name; 
Let them the dear expense of oil upbraid, 
Suck'd by thy watchful lamp, that hath betray'd 
To theft the blood of martyr'd authors, spilt 
Into thy ink, whilst thou growest pale with guilt. 
Repine not at the taper's thrifty waste, 
That sleeks thy terser poems; nor is haste 
Praise, but excuse; and if thou overcome 
A knotty writer, bring the booty home; 
Nor think it theft if the rich spoils so torn 
From conquer'd authors be as trophies worn. 
Let others glut on the extorted praise 
Of vulgar breath, trust thou to after-days; 
Thy labour'd works shall live when time devours 
Th' abortive offspring of their hasty hours. 
Thou are not of their rank, the quarrel lies 
Within thine own verge; then let this suffice, 
The wiser world doth greater thee confess 
Than all men else, than thyself only less.