Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Hand Clapping

from An Ode to Himself
By Ben Jonson

Where dost thou careless lie
Buried in ease and sloth?
Knowledge that sleeps doth die;
And this Securitie,
It is the common Moth,
That eats on wits, and Arts, and oft destroys them both.

Are all th'Aonian springs
Dried up? lies Thespia waste?
Doth Clarius' Harp want strings,
That not a Nymph now sings?
Or droop they as disgraced,
To see their Seats and Bowers by chatt'ring Pies defaced?

If hence thou silent be,
As 'tis too just a cause,
Let this thought quicken thee:
Minds that are great and free
Should not on fortune pause,
'Tis crown enough to virtue still: her own applause.

What though the greedie Frie
Be taken with false Bayte
Of worded Balladrie,
And thinke it Poesie?
They die with their conceits,
And only pitious scorn, upon their folly waits.

Then take in hand thy Lyre,
Strike in thy proper strain,
With Japhet's line, aspire
Sol's Chariot for new fire,
To give the world again:
Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Jove's brain...

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