Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN EPISTLE TO MASTER ARTHUR SQUIB, by BEN JONSON



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AN EPISTLE TO MASTER ARTHUR SQUIB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What I am not, and what I fain would be
Last Line: It is a richer purchase than of land.


What I am not, and what I fain would be,
Whilst I inform myself, I would teach thee,
My gentle Arthur; that it might be said
One lesson we have both learned, and well read;
I neither am, nor art thou one of those
That hearkens to a jack's pulse, when it goes.
Nor ever trusted to that friendship yet
Was issue of the tavern, or the spit:
Much less a name would we bring up, or nurse,
That could but claim a kindred from the purse.
Those are poor ties, depend on those false ends,
'Tis virtue alone, or nothing that knits friends:
And as within your office, you do take
No piece of money, but you know, or make
Enquiry of the worth: so must we do,
First weigh a friend, then touch, and try him too:
For there are many slips, and counterfeits.
Deceit is fruitful. Men have masks and nets,
But these with wearing will themselves unfold:
They cannot last. No lie grew ever old.
Turn him, and see his threads: look, if he be
Friend to himself, that would be friend to thee.
For that is first required, a man be his own.
But he that's too much that, is friend of none.
Then rest, and a friend's value understand:
It is a richer purchase than of land.





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