1611 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ben Jonson

Nathaniel Field, "To his worthy Friend Mr. Ben. Jonson" Jonson, Cataline (1611) sig. A4.



Had the great thoughts of Cataline bene good,
The memory of his name, streame of his bloud,
His plots past into acts, (which would have turn'd
His Infamy to Fame, though Rome had burn'd)
Had not begot him equall grace with men,
As this, that he is writ by such a Pen:
Whose inspirations, if great Rome had had,
Her good things had bene better'd, and her bad
Undone; the first for joy, the last for feare,
That such a Muse should spread them, to our Yeare.
But woe to us then: for thy laureat brow
If Rome enjoy'd had, we had wanted now.
But, in this Age, where Jigs and Dances move,
How few there are, that this pure worke approve!
Yet, better then I rayle at, thou canst scorne
Censures, that die, ere they be throughly borne.
Each Subject thou, still thee each Subject rayses,
And whosoever thy Booke, himselfe disprayses.