Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
158. On Lucy, Countess of Bedford
 
Ben Jonson (1573–1637)
 
 
THIS morning timely wrapt with holy fire,
I thought to form unto my zealous Muse,
What kind of creature I could most desire
To know, 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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