Ben Johnson

Soundings Index

A Hymme to God the Father

 Heare mee, O God!
   A borken heart
   Is my best part:
 Use still thy rod,
   That I may prove
   Therein, thy Love.

 If thou hadst not
   Beene sterne to mee,
   But left me free,
 I had forgot
   My selfe and thee.

 For, sin's so sweet,
   As minds ill bent
   Rarely repent,
 Until they meet
   Their punsihment.

 Who more can crave
   Then thou hast done:
   That gav'st a Sonne,
 To free a slave?
   First made of nought;
   With all since bought.

 Sinne, Death, and Hell,
   His glorious Name
   Quite overcame,
 Yet I rebell,
   And slight the same.

 But, I'le come in,
   Before my losse,
   Me farther tosse,
 As sure to win
   Under his Crosse.

An Ode to Himselfe

   Where do'st thou carelesse lie
    Buried in ease and sloth?
   Knowledge, that sleepes, doth die;
   And this Securitie,
    It is the common Moath,
 That eats on wits, and Arts, and oft destroyes
      them both.

   Are all th'Aonian springs
     Dri'd up? lyes Thespia wast?
   Doth Clarius Harp want strings,
   That not a Nymph now sings!
     Or droop they as disgrac't
 To see their Seats and Bowers by chattring
      Pies defac't?

   If hence they silence be,
     As 'tis too just a cause;
   Let this thought quicken thee,
   Minds that are great and free,
     Should not on fortune pause,
 'Tis crowne enough to vertue still, her owne

   What though the greedie Frie
     Be taken with false Baytes
   Of worded Balladrie,
   And thinke it Poesie?
     They die with their conceits,
 And only pitious scorne, upon their folly

   Then take in hand thy Lyre,
     Strike in thy proper straine,
   With Japhets lyne, aspire
   Sols Chariot for new fire,
     To give the world againe:
 Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Joves

   And since our Daintie age
     Cannot endure reproofe
   Make not thy selfe a Page,
   To that strumpet the Stage,
     But sing high and aloofe,
 Safe from the wolves black jaw, and the dull
      Asses hoofe.

Song: from The Silent Woman

 Still to be neat, still to be drest,
 As, you were going to a feast;
 Still to be pou'dred, still perfum'd:
 Lady, it is to be presum'd,
 Though arts hid causes are not found,
 All is not sweet, all is not sound.

 Give me a looke, give me a face,
 That makes simplicitie a grace;
 Robes loosely flowing, haire as free:
 Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
 Then all th'adulteries of art.
 They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Soundings Index