Ben Jonson



Her Man described by her own Dictamen

Of your trouble, Ben, to ease me,
I will tell what Man would please me.
I would have him, if I could,
Noble ;  or of greater blood ;
Titles, I confess, do take me,
And a woman God did make me ;
French to boot, at least in fashion,
And his manners of that nation.
    Young I'd have him too, and fair,
Yet a man ;  with crispèd hair,
Cast in thousand snares and rings,
For Love's fingers, and his wings :
Chestnut colour, or more slack,
Gold, upon a ground of black.
Venus and Minerva's eyes,
For he must look wanton-wise.
    Eyebrows bent, like Cupid's bow,
Front, an ample field of snow ;
Even nose, and cheek withal ,
Smooth as is the billiard-ball :
Chin as woolly as the peach ;
And his lip should kissing teach,
Till he cherish'd too much beard,
And made Love or me afeard.
    He would have a hand as soft
As the down, and show it oft ;
Skin as smooth as any rush,
And so thin to see a blush
Rising through it, ere it came ;
All his blood should be a flame,
Quickly fired, as in beginners
In Love's school, and yet no sinners.
    'Twere too long to speak of all ;
What we harmony do call
In a body should be there.
Well he should his clothes to wear ;
Yet no tailor help to make him ;
Drest, you still for man should take him,
And not think h' had eat a stake,
Or were set up in a brake.
    Valiant he should be as fire,
Showing danger more than ire.
Bounteous as the clouds to earth,
And as honest as his birth ;
All his actions to be such,
As to do no thing too much :
Nor o'er-praise, nor yet condemn,
Nor out-value, nor contemn,
Nor do wrongs, nor wrongs receive,
Nor tie knots, nor knots unweave ;
And from baseness to be free,
As he durst love Truth and me.
    Such a man, with every part,
I could give my very heart ;
But of one if short he came,
I can rest me where I am.

The Songs and Poems of Ben Jonson.
London: Philip Allan & Co., 1924. 32-33.

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