Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EPIGRAM. TO A FRIEND AND SON, by BEN JONSON



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EPIGRAM. TO A FRIEND AND SON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Son, and my friend, I had not called you so
Last Line: Rather to boast rich hangings, than rare friends.


Son, and my friend, I had not called you so
To me; or been the same to you; if show,
Profit, or chance had made us: but I know
What, by that name, we each to other owe,
Freedom, and truth; with love from those begot:
Wise crafts, on which the flatterer ventures not.
His is more safe commodity, or none:
Nor dares he come in the comparison.
But as the wretched painter, who so ill
Painted a dog, that now his subtler skill
Was, t'have a boy stand with a club, and fright
All live dogs from the lane, and his shop's sight,
Till he had sold his piece, drawn so unlike:
So doth the flatterer, with far cunning strike
At a friend's freedom, proves all circling means
To keep him off; and howsoe'er he gleans
Some of his forms, he lets him not come near
Where he would fix, for the distinction's fear.
For as at distance, few have faculty
To judge; so all men coming near can spy,
Though now of flattery, as of picture are
More subtle works, and finer pieces far,
Than knew the former ages: yet to life,
All is but web, and painting; be the strife
Never so great to get them: and the ends,
Rather to boast rich hangings, than rare friends.





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