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
 
Epigrams: On Lucy, Countess of Bedford
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
THIS 1 morning, timely rapt with holy fire,
  I thought to form unto my zealous Muse,
What kind of creature I could most desire
  To honour, serve, and love, as Poets use.
I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise,        5
  Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great;
I meant the day-star should not brighter rise,
  Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat.
I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,
  Hating that solemn vice of greatness, pride;        10
I meant each softest virtue there should meet,
  Fit in that softer bosom to reside.
Only a learned, and a manly soul
  I purposed her: that should, with even powers,
The rock, the spindle, and the shears control        15
  Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours.
Such when I meant to feign, and wished to see,
My Muse bade BEDFORD write, and that was she!
 
Note 1. Wife of Edward, third Earl of Bedford. She was also sung by Donne and Daniel. [back]
 
 
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