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Best Famous Ben Jonson Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ben Jonson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ben Jonson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ben Jonson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Ben Jonson poems.

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Poems are below...

Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

The Hourglass

Consider this small dust here running in the glass,
By atoms moved;
Could you believe that this the body was 
Of one that loved?
And in his mistress' flame, playing like a fly,
Turned to cinders by her eye:
Yes; and in death, as life, unblessed,
To have it expressed,
Even ashes of lovers find no rest.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

His Excuse for Loving

Let it not your wonder move, 
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years, I have had, and have, my peers.
Poets, though divine, are men; Some have loved as old again.
And it is not always face, Clothes, or fortune gives the grace, Or the feature, or the youth; But the language and the truth, With the ardor and the passion, Gives the lover weight and fashion.
If you then would hear the story, First, prepare you to be sorry That you never knew till now Either whom to love or how; But be glad as soon with me When you hear that this is she Of whose beauty it was sung, She shall make the old man young, Keep the middle age at stay, And let nothing hide decay, Till she be the reason why All the world for love may die.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To Celia

Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes, 
And I will pledge with mine; 
Or leave a kisse but in the cup, 
And Ile not looke for wine.
The thirst, that from the soule doth rise, Doth aske a drinke divine: But might I of Jove's Nectar sup, I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosie wreath, Not so much honoring thee, As giving it a hope, that there It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did'st onely breath, And sent'st it back to mee: Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare, Not of it selfe, but thee.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

On My First Daughter

On My First Daughter
by Ben Jonson

Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
It makes the father less to rue.

At six months' end, she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To All, To Whom I Write

May none whose scatter'd names honor my book,
For strict degrees of rank or title look :
'Tis 'gainst the manners of an epigram ;
And I a poet here, no herald am.

Written by Robert Herrick | Create an image from this poem

His Prayer To Ben Jonson

 When I a verse shall make,
Know I have pray'd thee,
For old religion's sake,
Saint Ben to aid me.
Make the way smooth for me, When I, thy Herrick, Honouring thee, on my knee Offer my lyric.
Candles I'll give to thee, And a new altar, And thou, Saint Ben, shalt be Writ in my psalter.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To Fine Grand


What is't, FINE GRAND, makes thee my friendship fly,
Or take an Epigram so fearfully,
As 'twere a challenge, or a borrower's letter:
The world must know your greatness is my debtor.
Imprimis, Grand, you owe me for a jest
I lent you, on mere acquaintance, at a feast.
Item, a tale or two some fortnight after,
That yet maintains you, and your house in laughter.
Item, the Babylonian song you sing;
Item, a fair Greek poesy for a ring,
With which a learned madam you bely.
Item, a charm surrounding fearfully
Your partie-per-pale picture, one half drawn
In solemn cypress, th' other cobweb lawn.
Item, a gulling imprese for you, at tilt.
Item, your mistress' anagram, in your hilt.
Item, your own, sewn in your mistress' smock.
Item, an epitaph on my lord's cock,
In most vile verses, and cost me more pain,
Than had I made 'em good, to fit your vein.
Forty things more, dear Grand, which you know true,
For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you.

Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

Epistle to Katherine, Lady Aubigny



As what they have lost t' expect, they dare deride.

So both the prais'd and praisers suffer ; yet,
For others ill ought none their good forget.

I therefore, who profess myself in love
With every virtue, wheresoe'er it move,
And howsoever ;  as I am at feudBy arts, and practice of the vicious,
Such as suspect themselves, and think it fit,
For their own capital crimes, to indict my wit ;
I that have suffer'd this ;  and though forsook
Of fortune, have not alter'd yet my look,
Or so myself abandon'd, as because
Men are not just, or keep no holy laws
Of nature and society, I should faint ;If it may stand with your soft blush, to hear
Yourself but told unto yourself, and see
In my character what your features be,
You will not from the paper slightly pass :
No lady, but at some time loves her glass.

And this shall be no false one, but as much
Remov'd, as you from need to have it such.

Look then, and see your self — I will not sayIt perfect, proper, pure, and natural,
Not taken up o' the doctors, but as well
As I, can say and see it doth excel ;
That asks but to be censured by the eyes :
And in those outward forms, all fools are wise.

Nor that your beauty wanted not a dower,
Do I reflect.
   Some alderman has power,
Or cozening farmer of the customs, soAnd raise not virtue ;  they may vice enhance.

My mirror is more subtle, clear, refined,
takes and gives the beauties of the mind ;
Though it reject not those of fortune :  such
As blood, and match.
  Wherein, how more than much
Are you engaged to your happy fate,
For such a lot !  that mixt you with a state
Of so great title, birth, but virtue most,For he that once is good, is ever great.

Wherewith then, madam, can you better pay
This blessing of your stars, than by that way
Of virtue, which you tread ?   What if alone,
Without companions ?  'tis safe to have none.

In single paths dangers with ease are watch'd ;
Contagion in the press is soonest catch'd.

This makes, that wisely you decline your lifeNot looking by, or back, like those that wait
Times and occasions, to start forth, and seem.

Which though the turning world may disesteem,
Because that studies spectacles and shows,
And after varied, as fresh objects, goes,
Giddy with change, and therefore cannot see
Right, the right way ;  yet must your comfort be
Your conscience, and not wonder if none asksMaintain their liegers forth for foreign wires,
Melt down their husbands land, to pour away
On the close groom and page, on new-year's day,
And almost all days after, while they live ;
They find it both so witty, and safe to give.

Let them on powders, oils, and paintings spend,
Till that no usurer, nor his bawds dare lend
Them or their officers ;  and no man know,When their own parasites laugh at their fall,
May they have nothing left, whereof they can
Boast, but how oft they have gone wrong to man,
And call it their brave sin : for such there be
That do sin only for the infamy ;
And never think, how vice doth every hour
Eat on her clients, and some one devour.

You, madam, young have learn'd to shun these shelves,Into your harbor, and all passage shut
'Gainst storms or pirates, that might charge your peace ; 
For which you worthy are the glad increase
Of your blest womb, made fruitful from above,
To pay your lord the pledges of chaste love ;
And raise a noble stem, to give the fame
To Clifton's blood, that is denied their name.

Grow, grow, fair tree !  and as thy branches shoot,Before the moons have fill'd their triple trine,
To crown the burden which you go withal,
It shall a ripe and timely issue fall,
T' expect the honors of great AUBIGNY ;
And greater rites, yet writ in mystery,
But which the fates forbid me to reveal.

Only thus much out of a ravish'd zeal
Unto your name, and goodness of your life,What your tried manners are, what theirs should be ;
How you love one, and him you should, how still
You are depending on his word and will ;
Not fashion'd for the court, or strangers' eyes ;
But to please him, who is the dearer prize
Unto himself, by being so dear to you.

This makes, that your affections still be new,
And that your souls conspire, as they were goneMadam, be bold to use this truest glass ;
Wherein your form you still the same shall find ;
Because nor it can change, nor such a mind.

Of any good mind, now ; there are so few.

The bad, by number, are so fortified,
As what they have lost t' expect, they dare deride.

So both the prais'd and praisers suffer ; yet,
For others ill ought none their good forget.

I therefore, who profess myself in love
With every virtue, wheresoe'er it move,
And howsoever ;  as I am at feud
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

On Gut

 ? ON GUT.
GUT eats all day and letchers all the night,
   So all his meat he tasteth over twice ;
And striving so to double his delight,
   He makes himself a thorough-fare of vice.
Thus, in his belly, can he change a sin,
Lust it comes out, that gluttony went in.

Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem




                 And her black spite expel,
Which to effect (since no breast is so sure,
                 Or safe, but she'll procure
Some way of entrance) we must plant a guard
                 Of thoughts to watch, and ward
At the eye and ear, the ports unto the mind,                 Give knowledge instantly,
To wakeful reason, our affections' king :
                 Who, in th' examining,
Will quickly taste the treason, and commit
                 Close, the close cause of it.

'Tis the securest policy we have,
                 To make our sense our slave.

But this true course is not embraced by many :                 Or else the sentinel,
That should ring larum to the heart, doth sleep ;
                 Or some great thought doth keep
Back the intelligence, and falsely swears,
                 They are base, and idle fears
Whereof the loyal conscience so complains,
                 Thus, by these subtile trains,
Do several passions invade the mind,                 The first ; as prone to move
Most frequent tumults, horrors, and unrests,
                 In our enflamed breasts :
But this doth from the cloud of error grow,
                 Which thus we over-blow.

The thing they here call Love, is blind desire,
                 Arm'd with bow, shafts, and fire ;
Inconstant, like the sea, of whence 'tis born,                 And boils, as if he were
In a continual tempest.
  Now, true love
                 No such effects doth prove ;
That is an essence far more gentle, fine,
                 Pure, perfect, nay divine ;
It is a golden chain let down from heaven,
                 Whose links are bright and even,
That falls like sleep on lovers, and combines                 To murder different hearts,
But in a calm, and god-like unity,
                 Preserves community.

O, who is he, that, in this peace, enjoys
                 The elixir of all joys ?
A form more fresh than are the Eden bowers,
                 And  lasting as her flowers :
Richer than Time, and as time's virtue rare                 Who, blest with such high chance
Would, at suggestion of a steep desire,
                 Cast himself from the spire
Of all his happiness ?   But soft :  I hear
                 Some vicious fool draw near,
That cries, we dream, and swears there's no such thing, 
                 As this chaste love we sing.

Peace, Luxury, thou art like one of those                 No, Vice, we let thee know,
Though thy wild thoughts with sparrows' wings do flie,
                 Turtles can chastly die ;
And yet (in this t' express ourselves more clear)
                 We do not number here
Such spirits as are only continent,
                 Because lust's means are spent :
Or those, who doubt the common mouth of fame,                 Is mere necessity.

Nor mean we those, whom vows and conscience
                 Have fill'd with abstinence :
Though we acknowledge, who can so abstain,
                 Makes a most blessed gain.

He that for love of goodness hateth ill,
                 Is more crown-worthy still,
Than he, which for sin's penalty forbears ;                 Graced with a Phoenix' love ;
A beauty of that clear and sparkling light,
                 Would make a day of night,
And turn the blackest sorrows to bright joys ;
                 Whose odorous breath destroys
All taste of bitterness, and makes the air
                 As sweet as she is fair.

A body so harmoniously composed,                 O, so divine a creature,
Who could be false to?  chiefly, when he knows
                 How only she bestows
The wealthy treasure of her love on him ;
                 Making his fortune swim
In the full flood of her admired perfection ?
                 What savage, brute affection,
Would not be fearful to offend a dame                 To virtuous moods inclined
That knows the weight of guilt ; he will refrain
                 From thoughts of such a strain,
And to his sense object this sentence ever,
                 "Man may securely sin, but safely never.

                 Is virtue and not fate :
Next to that virtue, is to know vice well,
                 And her black spite expel,
Which to effect (since no breast is so sure,
                 Or safe, but she'll procure
Some way of entrance) we must plant a guard
                 Of thoughts to watch, and ward
At the eye and ear, the ports unto the mind,