Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Ben Jonson. 1573–1637
  
194. A Part of an Ode
to the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that noble pair,
Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison
  
IT 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 tast 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 knits 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 sow'd these fruits, and got the harvest in. 
 
 
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