Ben Jonson

(11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England)

The Speech - Poem by Ben Jonson

The long laments I spent for ruin'd Troy,
Are dried; and now mine eyes run teares of joy.
No more shall men suppose Electra dead,
Though from the consort of her sisters fled
Unto the Artick circle, here to grace,
And gild this day with her serenest face:
And see, my daughter Iris hastes to throw
Her roseat wings in compasse of a bow,
About our State, as signe of my approach:
Attracting to her seate from Mithras coach,
A thousand different, and particular hiewes,
Which she throughout her body doth diffuse.
The Sun, as loth to part from this halfe Spheare,
Stands still; and Phoebe labors to appeare
In all as bright (if not as rich) as he:
And, for a note of more serenity,
My six faire sisters hither shift their lights;
To do this hower the utmost of her rites.
Where lest the captious, or prophane might doubt,
How these cleare heavenly bodies come about
All to be seen at once; yet neithers light
Eclips'd, or shadow'd by the others sight:
Let ignorance know, great King, this day is thine,
And doth admit no night; but all do shine
As well nocturnall, as diurnall fires,
To adde unto the flame of our desires.
Which are (now thou hast closd up Janus gates,
And giv'n so generall peace to all Estates)
That no offensive mist, or cloudy staine
May mixe with splendor of thy golden raigne;
But, as th'ast free'd thy Chamber, from the noyse
Of war and tumult; thou wilt powre those joyes
Upon this place, which claimes to be the seate
Of all the kingly race: the cabinet
To all thy counsels; and the judging chaire
To this thy speciall Kingdome. Who so faire
And wholsome laws, in every Court, shall strive
By Æquity, and their first innocence to thrive;
The base and guilty bribes of guiltier men
Shall be thrown back, and Justice look, as when
She lov'd the earth, and fear'd not to be sold
For that, which worketh all things to it, gold.


The Dam of other evils, avarice
Shall here locke down her jaws, and that rude vice
Of ignorant, and pittied greatnesse, pride,
Decline with shame; ambition now shall hide
Her face in dust, as dedicate to sleep,
That in great portals wont her watch to keep.
All ils shall fly the light: Thy Court be free
No lesse from envy, than from flattery;
All tumult, faction, and harsh discord cease,
That might perturbe the musick of thy peace:
The querulous nature shall no longer finde
Room for his thoughts: One pure consent of minde
Shall flow in every brest, and not the ayre,
Sun, Moon, or Stars shine more serenely faire.
This from that loud, blest Oracle, I sing,
Who here, and first, pronounc'd thee Brittaines King.
Long maist thou live, and see me thus appeare,
As ominous a Comet, from my Spheare,
Unto thy raigne; as that did auspicate
So lasting glory to Augustus State.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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