Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
 
The Fortress of Mansoul
By Ben Jonson (1573?–1647)
 
NOT to know vice at all, and keep true state,
            Is virtue and not fate:
Next to that virtue is to know vice well,
            And her black spite repel.
Which to effect (since no breast is so sure,        5
            Or safe, but she’ll procure
Some way of entrance), we must plant a guard
            Of thoughts to watch and ward
At th’ eye and ear, the ports unto the mind,
            That no strange or unkind        10
Object arrive there, but the heart, our spy,
            Give knowledge instantly
To wakeful reason, our affections’ king:
            Who in th’ examining
Will quickly taste the treason, and commit        15
            Close the true cause of it.
’Tis the securest policy we have
            To make our sense our slave.
But this true course is not embraced by many;
            By many? scarce by any.        20
For either our affections do rebel,
            Or else the sentinel,
That should ring ’larum to the heart, doth sleep,
            Or some great thought doth keep
Back the intelligence, and falsely swears        25
            They’re base and idle fears
Whereof the loyal conscience so complains.
            Thus by these subtle trains
Do several passions invade the mind
            And strike our reason blind.        30
 
 
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