Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
A Part of an Ode
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
On the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison

      IT 1 is not growing like a tree
      In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
      A lily of a day        5
      Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.        10
      Call, noble Lucius, then for wine,
      And let thy looks with gladness shine;
Accept this garland, plant it on thy head,
And think—nay, know—thy Morison’s not dead.
            He leap’d the present age,        15
            Possest with holy rage
      To see that bright eternal Day
      Of which we Priests and Poets say
Such truths as we expect for happy men;
And there he lives with memory—and Ben        20
Jonson: who sung this of him, ere he went
            Himself to rest,
Or taste a part of that full joy he meant
            To have exprest
      In this bright Asterism        25
      Where it were friendship’s schism—
Were not his Lucius long with us to tarry—
            To separate these twy
            Lights, the Dioscuri,
And keep the one half from his Harry.        30
But fate doth so alternate the design,
Whilst that in Heav’n, this light on earth must shine.
      And shine as you exalted are!
      Two names of friendship, but one star:
Of hearts the union: and those not by chance        35
Made, or indenture, or leased out to advance
            The profits for a time.
            No pleasures vain did chime
      Of rimes or riots at your feasts,
      Orgies of drink or feign’d protests;        40
But simple love of greatness and of good,
That knit brave minds and manners more than blood.
      This made you first to know the Why
      You liked, then after, to apply
That liking, and approach so one the t’other        45
Till either grew a portion of the other:
            Each stylèd by his end
            The copy of his friend.
      You lived to be the great surnames
      And titles by which all made claims        50
Unto the Virtue—nothing perfect done
But as a CARY or a MORISON.
And such the force the fair example had
            As they that saw
The good, and durst not practise it, were glad        55
            That such a law
      Was left yet to mankind,
      Where they might read and find
FRIENDSHIP indeed was written, not in words,
      And with the heart, not pen,        60
      Of two so early men,
Whose lines her rules were and records:
Who, ere the first down bloomèd on the chin,
Had sowed these fruits, and got the harvest in.
Note 1. From Underwoods, second folio, 1640. Sir Lucius Cary, better known to modern readers as the gallant Lord Falkland, who fell at the battle of Naseby, was married to Letice, a sister of Sir Henry Morison. An early attachment appears to have grown up between these young men, who were two of the poet’s most cherished “adopted sons.” Sir Henry did not live to witness the marriage of his friend with his sister, and Falkland himself perished in the thirty-fourth year of his age. In some of the editions this poem is entitled “A Pindaric Ode,” of which it is a perfect example. The first seven stanzas are omitted. [back]

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