Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Hymn to Diana
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
QUEEN 1 and Huntress, chaste and fair,
  Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
  State in wonted manner keep: 2
    Hesperus entreats thy light,        5
    Goddess excellently bright.
 
Earth, let not thy envious shade
  Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia’s shining orb was made
  Heaven to clear 3 when day did close.        10
    Bless us then with wishèd sight
    Goddess excellently bright.
 
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
  And thy crystal-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart        15
  Space to breathe, how short soever:
    Thou that mak’st a day of night,
    Goddess excellently bright.
 
Note 1. From Cynthia’s Revels, acted 1600, act v. sc. 6. “One of the most popular songs,” says Mr. Erskine (The Elizabethan Lyric, ed. 1905), “which, however, is steeped in classical rather than in English feeling…. The lyric emotion in Jonson never burns very bright: he is an intellectual artist rather than a singer.” [back]
Note 2. Seated in thy silver chair State in wonted manner keep. Coleman suggests that these lines may have inspired Milton’s:
  Come, but keep thy wonted state
With even step and musing gait.
(Il Penseroso.)    
Note 3. To clear: to make bright, to lighten. [back]
 
 
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