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Follow a shadow, it still flies you;
Seem to fly it, it will pursue:
So court a mistress, she denies you;
Let her alone, she will court you.
Say, are not women truly, then,
Styled but the shadows of us men?

At morn and even shades are longest;
At noon they are or short, or none:
So men at weakest, they are strongest.
But grant us perfect, they're not known.
Say, are not women truly, then,
Styled but the shadows of us men?


Why, disease, dost thou molest
Ladies, and of them the best?
Do not men enow of rites
To thy altars, by their nights
Spent in surfeits, and their days,
And nights too, in worser ways?
Take heed, sickness, what you do,
I shall fear you'll surfeit too.

15 The origin of this song is thus related by Drummond: "Pembrok and his Lady discoursing, the Earl said, 'The woemen were men's shadowes,' and she maintained them. Both appealing to Jonson, he affirmed it true; for which my Lady gave a pennance to prove it in verse; hence his epigrame."

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Live not we, as all thy stalls,
Spitals, pest-house, hospitals,
Scarce will take our present store?

And this age will build no more.
'Pray thee, feed contented then,
Sickness, only on us men;

Or, if needs thy lust will taste
Womankind, devour the waste
Livers, round about the town.
But, forgive me; with thy crown
They maintain the truest trade,
And have more diseases made.

What should, yet, thy palate please?
Daintiness, and softer ease,

Sleeked limbs, and finest blood?
If thy leanness love such food,
There are those that, for thy sake,
Do enough; and who would take
Any pains, yea, think it price,
To become thy sacrifice;

That distil their husbands' land
In decoctions; and are manned

With ten empirics in their chamber,

Lying for the spirit of amber;
That for th' oil of tale dare spend.

More than citizens dare lend
Them, and all their officers;
That, to make all pleasure theirs,
Will by coach and water go,
Every stew in town to know;

Dare entail their loves on any,
Bald or blind, or ne'er so many;
And, for thee, at common game,
Play away health, wealth, and fame.
These, disease, will thee deserve;

And will, long ere thou shouldst starve,
On their beds, most prostitute,

Move it, as their humblest suit,

In thy justice to molest

None but them, and leave the rest.


Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.

The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine:

But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be.

16 Cumberland has traced the leading ideas of this familiar song to some scattered passages in the love-letters of Philostratus. But in making these stray thoughts his own, Jonson has transmuted them into gold; showing, at the same time, consummate art by connecting in an obvious sequence images which are entirely disconnected in the original. - B.

But thou thereon didst only breathe,

And sent'st it back to me:

Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,

Not of itself, but thee.

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And must I sing? 18 what subject shall I choose?
Or whose great name in poets' heaven use,
For the more countenance to my active Muse?

17 This piece, which is called by the editors Præludium, has no title in the folio.

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18 Gifford conjectures that this sportive Præludium, and the admirable Epode to which it forms an introduction, must have been among the earliest of Jonson's works, as he found them prefixed to a volume called Love's Martyr, or Rosalin's Complaint, published in 1601. They are immediately succeeded in the same volume by the following pieces, "both," says Gifford, as it would seem, by one author, though his name does not appear to them." The evidence, internal and external, is against this presumption. The pieces are not in the manner of Jonson, who never wrote in this flippant style; and it is only reasonable to suppose that if they were his, he would have included them in this collection, together with the Præludium and the Epode, unless he was unwilling to acknowledge them. Upon these points the reader will judge for himself. B.


Now, after all, let no man

Receive it for a fable,

If a bird so amiable

Do turn into a woman.

Or, by our Turtle's augure,

That nature's fairest creature
Prove of his mistress' feature

But a bare type and figure.

Hercules? alas, his bones are yet sore
With his old earthly labors; t' exact more
Of his dull godhead were sin. I'll implore

Phoebus. No, tend thy cart still. Envious day
Shall not give out that I have made thee stay,
And foundered thy hot team, to tune my lay.

Nor will I beg of thee, Lord of the vine,
To raise my spirits with thy conjuring wine,
In the green circle of thy ivy twine.

ODE ἐνθουσιαστική.

Splendor! O more than mortal,
For other forms come short all
Of her illustrious brightness,
As far as sin's from lightness.

Her wit as quick and sprightful
As fire, and more delightful
Than the stolen sport of lovers,
When night their meeting covers.

Judgment, adorned with learning,
Doth shine in her discerning,
Clear as a naked vestal
Closed in an orb of crystal.

Her breath for sweet exceeding

The phoenix' place of breeding,
But mixed with sound, transcending

All nature of commending.

Alas then whither wade I

In thought to praise this lady,
When seeking her renowning
Myself am so near drowning?

Retire, and say her graces
Are deeper than their faces,
Yet she's not nice to show them,

Nor takes she pride to know them.

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