AN ELEGY BY “BEN JONSON”

An Elegy

Though beauty be the mark of praise, 

   And yours of whom I sing be such 

   As not the world can praise too much, 

Yet ’tis your virtue now I raise. 

 

A virtue, like allay, so gone 

   Throughout your form, as, though that move 

   And draw and conquer all men’s love, 

This sùbjects you to love of one. 

 

Wherein you triumph yet; because 

   ’Tis of yourself, and that you use 

   The noblest freedom, not to choose 

Against or faith or honor’s laws. 

 

But who should less expect from you, 

   In whom alone Love lives again? 

   By whom he is restored to men, 

And kept, and bred, and brought up true. 

 

His falling temples you have reared, 

   The withered garlands ta’en away; 

   His altars kept from the decay 

That envy wished, and nature feared; 

 

And on them burn so chaste a flame, 

   With so much loyalties’ expense, 

   As Love, t’ acquit such excellence, 

Is gone himself into your name. 

 

And you are he; the deity 

   To whom all lovers are designed 

   That would their better objects find; 

Among which faithful troop am I. 

 

Who, as an offspring at your shrine, 

   Have sung this hymn, and here entreat 

   One spark of your diviner heat 

To light upon a love of mine. 

 

Which, if it kindle not, but scant 

   Appear, and that to shortest view, 

   Yet give me leave t’ adore in you 

What I in her am grieved to want.

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