Ben Jonson

  E  P  I  G  R  A  M  S .  


Don SURLY, to aspire the glorious name
Of a great man, and to be thought the same,
Makes serious use of all great trade he knows,
He speaks to men with a rhinocerote's nose,
Which he thinks great ; and so reads verses too :
And that is done, as he saw great men do.
He has tympanies of business in his face,
And can forget men's names, with a great grace.
He will both argue, and discourse in oaths,
Both which are great : and laugh at ill-made clothes ;
That's greater, yet : to cry his own up neat.
He doth at meals, alone, his pheasant eat,
Which is main greatness ; and at his still board
He drinks to no man : that's, too, like a lord.
He keeps another's wife, which is a spice
Of solemn greatness ; and he dares, at dice,
Blaspheme God greatly ; or some poor hind beat,
That breathes in his dog's way : and this is great.
Nay more, for greatness sake, he will be one
May hear my epigrams, but like of none.
SURLY, use other arts, these only can
Style thee a most great fool, but no great man.

[AJ Notes:
cry his own up neat, facilely praise his own clothes.
still board, quiet table. ]


Jonson, Ben.  The Works of Ben Jonson.
Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Co., 1853. 787.

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