1616 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ben Jonson

Edward Heyward, "To Ben Jonson, on his Workes" Jonson, Workes (1616) ¶4v.



May I subscribe a name? dares my bold quill
Write that or good or ill,
Whose frame is of that height, that, to mine eye,
Its head is in the sky?
Yes. Since the most censures, beleeves, and saith
By an implicit faith:
Least their misfortune makes them chance amisse,
I'le waft them right by this.
Of all I know thou onely art the man
That dares but what he can:
Yet by performance showes he can do more
Then hath bene done before,
Or will be after. (such assurance gives
Perfection where it lives.)
Words speake thy matter; matter fills thy words;
And choyce that grace affords
That both are best: and both most fitly plac't,
Are with new VENUS grac't
From artfull method, all in this point meet,
With good to mingle sweet.
These are thy lower parts, what stands above
Who sees not yet must love,
When on the Base he reads BEN. JONSONS name,
And heares the rest from Fame.
This from my love of truth: which payes this due
To your just worth, not you.