To the immortall memorie, and friendship of|
that noble paire, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H.
by Ben Jonson
BRAVE Infant of Saguntum, cleare
Thy coming forth in that great yeare,
When the Prodigious Hannibal did crowne
His rage, with razing your immortall Towne.
Thou, looking then about,
Ere thou wert halfe got out,
Wise child, did'st hastily returne,
And mad'st thy Mothers wombe thine urne.
How summ'd a circle didst thou leave man-kind
Of deepest lore, could we the Centre find !
Did wiser Nature draw thee back,
From out the horrour of that sack,
Where shame, faith, honour, and regard of right
Lay trampled on ; the deeds of death, and night,
Urg'd, hurried forth, and hurld
Upon th' affrighted world :
Sword, fire, and famine, with fell fury met ;
And all on utmost ruine set ;
As, could they but lifes miseries fore-see,
No doubt all Infants would returne like thee.
For, what is life, if measur'd by the space,
Not by the act ?
Or masked man, if valu'd by his face,
Above his fact ?
Here's one out-liv'd his Peeres,
And told forth fourescore yeares ;
He vexed time, and busied the whole State ;
Troubled both foes, and friends ;
But ever to no ends :
What did this Stirrer, but die late ?
How well at twentie had he falne, or stood !
For three of his four-score he did no good.
Hee entred well, by vertuous parts,
Got up and thriv'd with honest arts :
He purchas'd friends, and fame, and honours then,
And had his noble name advanc'd with men :
But weary of that flight,
Hee stoop'd in all mens sight
To sordid flatteries, acts of strife,
And sunke in that dead sea of life,
So deep, as he did then death's waters sup ;
But that the Corke of Title buoy'd him up.
Alas, but Morison fell young :
Hee never fell, thou fall'st my tongue.
Hee stood, a Souldier to the last right end,
A perfect Patriot, and a noble friend,
But most a vertuous Sonne.
All Offices were done
By him, so ample, full, and round,
In weight, in measure, number, sound,
As though his age imperfect might appeare,
His life was of Humanitie the Spheare.
Goe now, and tell out dayes summ'd up with feares,
And make them yeares ;
Produce thy masse of miseries on the Stage,
To swell thine age ;
Repeat of things a throng,
To shew thou hast beene long,
Not liv'd ; for life doth her great actions spell,
By what was done and wrought
In season, and so brought
To light : her measures are, how well
Each syllabe answer'd, and was form'd, how faire ;
These make the lines of life, and that's her aire.
It is not growing like a tree
In bulke, doth make man better bee ;
Or, standing long an Oake, three hundred yeare,
To fall a logge, at last, dry, bald, and seare :
A Lillie of a Day
Is fairer farre, in May,
Although it fall, and die that night ;
It was the Plant, and flowre of light.
In small proportions, we just beauties see :
And in short measures, life may perfect bee.
Call, noble Lucius, then for Wine,
And let thy lookes with gladnesse shine :
Accept this garland, plant it on thy head,
And think, nay know, thy Morison's not dead.
He leap'd the present age,
Possest with holy rage,
To see that bright eternall Day :
Of which we Priests, and Poets say
Such truths, as we expect for happy men,
And there he lives with memorie ; and Ben.
Johnson, who sung this of him, ere he went
Himselfe to rest,
Or taste a part of that full joy he meant
To have exprest,
In this bright Asterisme :
Where it were friendships schisme,
(Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry)
To separate these twi-
Lights, the Dioscuri ;
And keepe the one halfe from his Harry.
But fate doth so alternate the designe,
Whilst that in heav'n, this light on earth must shine.
And shine as you exalted are ;
Two names of friendship, but one Starre :
Of hearts the union. And those not by chance
Made, or indenture, or leas'd out t' advance
The profits for a time.
No pleasures vaine did chime,
Of rimes, or riots, at your feasts,
Orgies of drinke, or fain'd protests :
But simple love of greatnesse, and of good ;
That knits brave minds, and manners, more than blood.
This made you first to know the Why
You lik'd, then after, to apply
That liking ; and approach so one the t'other
Till either grew a portion of the other :
Each stiled by his end,
The Copie of his friend.
You liv'd to be the great surnames,
And titles, by which all made claimes
Unto the Vertue. Nothing perfect done,
But as a CARY, or a MORISON.
And such a force the faire example had,
As they that saw
The good, and durst not practise it, were glad
That such a Law
Was left yet to Man-kind ;
Where they might read, and find
Friendship, indeed, was written, not in words :
And with the heart, not pen,
Of two so early men,
Whose lines her rolls were, and records.
Who, ere the first downe bloomed on the chin,
Had sow'd these fruits, and got the harvest in.
1 Turne, Counter-turne, Stand : the strophe, antistrophe, and
epode of the regular Pindaric Ode.
bald] bold, Underwoods.
The Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse.
H. J. C. Grierson and G. Bullough, eds.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. 171-175.
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