Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
On Lucy, Countess of Bedford
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
  THIS morning, timely rapt with holy fire,
I thought to form unto my zealous Muse
What kind of creature I could most desire
To honor, serve, and love, as poets use.
I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise,        5
  Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great;
I meant the Day-Star should not brighter rise,
Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat.
I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,
Hating that solemn vice of greatness, pride;        10
I meant each softest virtue there should meet
Fit in that softer bosom to reside.
Only a learnèd and a manly soul
I purposed her, that should, with even powers,
The rock, the spindle, and the shears control        15
Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours.
Such when I meant to feign, and wished to see,
My Muse bade Bedford write, and that was she.

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