1635 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Cavendish

Ben Jonson, "An Epigram. To William Earle of Newcastle" 1635 ca.; Jonson, Underwoods (1641) 226-27.



They talke of Fencing, and of the use of Armes,
The art of urging, and avoyding harmes,
The noble Science, and the maistring skill
Of making just approaches how to kill:
To hit in angles, and to clash with time:
As all defence, or offence were a chime!
I hate such measur'd, give me mettall'd fire
That trembles in the blaze, but (then) mounts higher!
A quick, and dazeling motion! when a paire
Of bodies, meet like rarified ayre!
Their weapons shot out, with that flame, and force,
As they out-did the lightning in the course;
This were a spectacle! A sight to draw
Wonder to Valour! No, it is the Law
Of daring, not to doe a wrong, is true
Valour! to sleight it, being done to you!
To know the heads of danger! where 'tis fit
To bend, to breake, provoke, or suffer it!
All this (my Lord) is Valour! This is yours!
And was your Fathers! All your Ancestours!
Who durst live great, 'mongst all the colds, and heates
Of humane life! as all the frosts, and sweates
Of fortune! when, or death appear'd, or bands!
And valiant were, with, or without their hands.