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
 
To Ben Jonson
By Thomas Randolph (1605–1635)
 
I WAS not born to Helicon, nor dare
Presume to think myself a Muse’s heir.
I have no title to Parnassus Hill
Nor any acre of it by the will
Of a dead ancestor, nor could I be        5
Ought but a tenant unto poetry.
But thy adoption quits me of all fear,
And makes me challenge a child’s portion there.
I am akin to heroes, being thine,
And part of my alliance is divine,        10
Orpheus, Musæus, Homer too, beside
Thy brothers by the Roman mother’s side;
As Ovid, Virgil, and the Latin lyre
That is so like thee, Horace; the whole quire
Of poets are, by thy adoption, all        15
My uncles; thou hast given me power to call
Phœbus himself my grandsire; by this grant
Each sister of the Nine is made my aunt.
Go, you that reckon from a large descent
Your lineal honours, and are well content        20
To glory in the age of your great name,
Though on a herald’s faith you build the same:
I do not envy you, nor think you blest
Though you may bear a Gorgon on your crest
By direct line from Perseus; I will boast        25
No further than my father; that ’s the most
I can, or should be proud of; and I were
Unworthy his adoption, if that here
I should be dully modest.
 
 
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