John Fletcher

To His Worthy Friend, Master Ben Jonson,
On His Catiline

He that dares wrong this play, it should appear
Dares utter more than other men dare hear,
That have their wits about 'em: yet such men,
Dear friend, must see your book, and read, and then,
Out of their learnèd ignorance, cry "ill,"
And lay you by, calling Mad Pasquil,
Or Greene's dear Groats-worth, or Tom Coryate,
The new lexicon, with errant pate;
And pick a way, from all these several ends,
And dirty ones, to make their as-wise friends
Believe they are translators.  Of this, pity,
There is a great plague hanging o'er the city,
Unless she purge her judgment presently.
But, oh, thou happy man, that must not die
As these things shall, leaving no more behind
But a thin memory, like a passing wind
That blows and is forgotten, ere they are cold!
Thy labours shall out-live thee; and, like gold
Stampt for continuance, shall be current where
There is a sun, a people, or a year.

The Works of Beaumont and Fletcher.
George Darley, ed.
London: George Routledge and Sons, 1883. 712.


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