Home  »  English Poetry I  »  152. The Noble Nature

English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Ben Jonson

152. The Noble Nature

IT is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make Man better be;

Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,

To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:

A lily of a day

Is fairer far in May,

Although it fall and die that night—

It was the plant and flower of Light

In small proportions we just beauties see;

And in short measures life may perfect be.