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

The Noble Balm

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)


I send nor balms nor cor’sives to your wound:

Your fate hath found

A gentler and more agile hand to tend

The cure of that which is but corporal;

And doubtful days, which were named critical,

Have made their fairest flight

And now are out of sight.

Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind

Wrapp’d in this paper lie,

Which in the taking if you misapply,

You are unkind.

Your covetous hand,

Happy in that fair honour it hath gain’d,

Must now be rein’d.

True valour doth her own renown command

In one full action; nor have you now more

To do, than be a husband of that store.

Think but how dear you bought

This fame which you have caught:

Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth.

’Tis wisdom, and that high,

For men to use their fortune reverently,

Even in youth.