Ben Jonson

(11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England)

A Farewell to the World


FALSE world, good night! since thou hast brought
That hour upon my morn of age;
Henceforth I quit thee from my thought,
My part is ended on thy stage.

Yes, threaten, do. Alas! I fear
As little as I hope from thee:
I know thou canst not show nor bear
More hatred than thou hast to me.

My tender, first, and simple years
Thou didst abuse and then betray;
Since stir'd'st up jealousies and fears,
When all the causes were away.

Then in a soil hast planted me
Where breathe the basest of thy fools;
Where envious arts professed be,
And pride and ignorance the schools;

Where nothing is examined, weigh'd,
But as 'tis rumour'd, so believed;
Where every freedom is betray'd,
And every goodness tax'd or grieved.

But what we're born for, we must bear:
Our frail condition it is such
That what to all may happen here,
If 't chance to me, I must not grutch.

Else I my state should much mistake
To harbour a divided thought
From all my kind-that, for my sake,
There should a miracle be wrought.

No, I do know that I was born
To age, misfortune, sickness, grief:
But I will bear these with that scorn
As shall not need thy false relief.

Nor for my peace will I go far,
As wanderers do, that still do roam;
But make my strengths, such as they are,
Here in my bosom, and at home.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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  • Rookie Celia Warren (7/22/2013 1:58:00 AM)

    This reads so modern. Ben Jonson obviously reached 'grumpy old man' stage before he died aged 65! Stanzas 4-5 ring so true today in 2013. (Report) Reply

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