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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
To my Dear Friend, Master Benjamin Jonson, upon His ‘Fox’
By Francis Beaumont (1584–1616)
 
IF it might stand with justice to allow
The swift conversion of all follies, now
Such is my mercy, that I could admit
All sorts should equally approve the wit
Of this thy even work, whose growing fame        5
Shall raise thee high, and thou it, with thy name;
And did not manners and my love command
Me to forbear to make those understand
Whom thou, perhaps, hast in thy wiser doom
Long since firmly resolved, shall never come        10
To know more than they do,—I would have shown
To all the world the art which thou alone
Hast taught our tongue, the rules of time, of place,
And other rites, delivered with the grace
Of comic style, which only is far more        15
Than any English stage hath known before.
But since our subtle gallants think it good
To like of naught that may be understood,
Lest they should be disproved, or have, at best,
Stomachs so raw, that nothing can digest        20
But what’s obscene, or barks,—let us desire
They may continue, simply to admire
Fine clothes and strange words, and may live, in age
To see themselves ill brought upon the stage,
And like it; whilst thy bold and knowing Muse        25
Contemns all praise, but such as thou wouldst choose.
 
 
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