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Poem by Ben Jonson


An Elegy (Since you must go)


Since you must go, and I must bid farewell,
Hear, mistress, your departing servant tell
What it is like :  and do not think they can
Be idle words, though of a parting man.
It is as if a night should shade noon-day,
Or that the sun was here, but forced away ;
And we were left under that hemisphere,
Where we must feel it dark for half a year.
What fate is this, to change men's days and hours,
To shift their seasons, and destroy their powers !
Alas !  I have lost my heat, my blood, my prime,
Winter is come a quarter ere his time.
My health will leave me ; and when you depart,
How shall I do, sweet mistress, for my heart ?
You would restore it !  no ; that's worth a fear,
As if it were not worthy to be there :
O keep it still ; for it had rather be
Your sacrifice, than here remain with me.
And so I spare it :  come what can become
Of me, I'll softly tread unto my tomb ;
Or, like a ghost, walk silent amongst men,
Till I may see both it and you agen.



Ben Jonson


Ben Jonson's other poems:
  1. Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke
  2. To Censorious Courtling
  3. To Francis Beaumont
  4. Begging Another
  5. Porth Ceiriad Bay


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