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

His Supposed Mistress

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

IF I freely can discover

What would please me in my lover,

I would have her fair and witty,

Savouring more of court than city;

A little proud, but full of pity;

Light and humourous in her toying;

Oft building hopes, and soon destroying;

Long, but sweet in the enjoying,

Neither too easy, nor too hard:

All extremes I would have barred.

She should be allowed her passions,

So they were but used as fashions;

Sometimes froward, and then frowning,

Sometimes sickish, and then swowning,

Every fit with change still crowning.

Purely jealous I would have her;

Then only constant when I crave her,

’Tis a virtue should not save her.

Thus, nor her delicates would cloy me,

Neither her peevishness annoy me.