Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Truth (from Hymenæi)
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
[From Hymenæi; or, the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers at the marriage of the Earl of Essex, 1606.]

UPON her head she wears a crown of stars,
Through which her orient hair waves to her waist,
By which believing mortals hold her fast,
And in those golden cords are carried even,
Till with her breath she blows them up to heaven.        5
She wears a robe enchased with eagles’ eyes,
To signify her sight in mysteries:
Upon each shoulder sits a milk-white dove,
And at her feet do witty serpents move:
Her spacious arms do reach from east to west,        10
And you may see her heart shine through her breast.
Her right hand holds a sun with burning rays,
Her left a curious bunch of golden keys,
With which heaven’s gates she locketh and displays.
A crystal mirror hangeth at her breast,        15
By which men’s consciences are searched and drest;
On her coach-wheels Hypocrisy lies racked;
And squint-eyed Slander with Vainglory backed
Her bright eyes burn to dust, in which shines Fate:
An angel ushers her triumphant gait,        20
Whilst with her fingers fans of stars she twists,
And with them beats back Error, clad in mists.
Eternal Unity behind her shines,
That fire and water, earth and air combines.
Her voice is like a trumpet loud and shrill,        25
Which bids all sounds in earth and heaven be still.
 
 
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