Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SPEECH OUT OF LUCAN, by BEN JONSON



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A SPEECH OUT OF LUCAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Just and fit actions, ptolemey (he saith)
Last Line: Shall never dare do anything but fear.


Just and fit actions, Ptolemey (he saith)
Make many, hurt themselves; a praised faith
Is her own scourge, when it sustains their states
Whom fortune hath depressed; come near the fates
And the immortal gods; love only those
Whom thou see'st happy; wretches flee as foes:
Look how the stars from earth, or seas from flames
Are distant, so is profit from just aims.
The main command of sceptres, soon doth perish
If it begin religious thoughts to cherish;
Whole armies fall swayed by those nice respects.
It is a licence to do ill, protects
Even states most hated, when no laws resist
The sword, but that it acteth what it list.
Yet ware: thou may'st do all things cruelly:
Not safe; but when thou dost them thoroughly:
He that will honest be, may quit the court,
Virtue and sovereignty, they not consort.
That prince that shames a tyrant's name to bear,
Shall never dare do anything but fear.





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