Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EPISTLE. TO MY LADY COVELL, by BEN JONSON

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EPISTLE. TO MY LADY COVELL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: You won not verses, madam, you won me
Last Line: And should grow rich, had I much more to pay.

You won not verses, Madam, you won me,
When you would play so nobly, and so free,
A book to a few lines: but, it was fit
You won them too, your odds did merit it.
So have you gained a servant, and a muse:
The first of which I fear, you will refuse;
And you may justly, being a tardy, cold,
Unprofitable chattel, fat and old,
Laden with belly, and doth hardly approach
His friends, but to break chairs, or crack a coach.
His weight is twenty stone within two pound;
And that's made up as doth the purse abound.
Marry, the muse is one, can tread the air,
And stroke the water, nimble, chaste, and fair,
Sleep in a virgin's bosom without fear,
Run all the rounds in a soft lady's ear,
Widow or wife, without the jealousy
Of either suitor, or a servant by.
Such (if her manners like you) I do send:
And can for other graces her commend,
To make you merry on the dressing stool,
A-mornings, and at afternoons, to fool
Away ill company, and help in rhyme
Your Joan to pass her melancholy time.
By this, although you fancy not the man,
Accept his muse; and tell, I know you can,
How many verses, Madam, are your due!
I can lose none in tendering these to you.
I gain, in having leave to keep my day.
And should grow rich, had I much more to pay.

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