To Sir Henry Cary

By Ben Jonson 1572–1637 Ben Jonson
That neither fame nor love might wanting be
To greatness, Cary, I sing that and thee;
Whose house, if it no other honor had,
In only thee might be both great and glad;
Who, to upbraid the sloth of this our time,
Durst valor make almost, but not, a crime;
Which deed I know not, whether were more high,
Or thou more happy, it to justify
Against thy fortune: when no foe, that day,
Could conquer thee but chance, who did betray.
Love thy great loss, which a renown hath won,
To live when Broick not stands, nor Ruhr doth run.
Love honors, which of best example be
When they cost dearest and are done most free;
Though every fortitude deserves applause,
It may be much or little in the cause.
He’s valiant’st that dares fight, and not for pay;
That virtuous is, when the reward’s away.

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Poet Ben Jonson 1572–1637


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

 Ben  Jonson


Ben Jonson’s “Song to Celia” is known to millions as “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.” Jonson was educated at the prestigious Westminster School in London. He took up acting, and by 1597 he was writing original plays. Jonson’s first widely acclaimed play, Every Man in His Humour, included William Shakespeare in its cast.

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SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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