Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

A Farewell to the World

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

FALSE world! good night! since thou hast brought

That hour upon my morn of age;

Henceforth I quit thee from my thought,

My part is ended on thy stage.

Yes, threaten, do. Alas! I fear

As little as I hope from thee:

I know thou canst not show nor bear

More hatred than thou hast to me.

My tender, first, and simple years

Thou didst abuse and then betray;

Since stir’d’st up jealousies and fears,

When all the causes were away.

Then in a soil hast planted me

Where breathe the basest of thy fools;

Where envious arts professèd be,

And pride and ignorance the schools;

Where nothing is examined, weigh’d,

But ’tis rumour’d, so believed;

Where every freedom is betray’d,

And every goodness tax’d or grieved.

But what we’re born for, we must bear

Our frail condition it is such

That what to all may happen here,

If ’t chance to me, I must not grutch.

Else I my state should much mistake

To harbour a divided thought

From all my kind—that, for my sake,

There should a miracle be wrought.

No, I do know that I was born

To age, misfortune, sickness, grief;

But I will bear these with that scorn

As shall not need thy false relief.

Nor for my peace will I go far,

As wanderers do, that still do roam;

But make my strengths, such as they are,

Here in my bosom, and at home.