Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY, ON HIS BIRTHDAY, by BEN JONSON



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ODE TO SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY, ON HIS BIRTHDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now that the hearth is crowned with smiling fire
Last Line: The birthday shines, when logs not burn, but men.
Subject(s): Birthdays; Sidney, Sir William (1590-1612)


Now that the hearth is crowned with smiling fire,
And some do drink, and some do dance,
Some ring,
Some sing,
And all do strive to advance
The gladness higher:
Wherefore should I
Stand silent by,
Who not the least,
Both love the cause, and authors of the feast?
Give me my cup, but from the Thespian well,
That I may tell to Sydney, what
This day
Doth say,
And he may think on that
Which I do tell:
When all the noise
Of these forced joys,
Are fled and gone,
And he, with his best Genius left alone.
This day says, then, the number of glad years
Are justly summed, that make you man;
Your vow
Must now
Strive all right ways it can,
To out-strip your peers:
Since he doth lack
Of going back
Little, whose will
Doth urge him to run wrong, or to stand still.
Nor can a little of the common store,
Of nobles virtue, show in you;
Your blood
So good
And great, must seek for new,
And study more:
Not weary, rest
On what's deceased.
For they, that swell
With dust of ancestors, in graves but dwell.
'T will be exacted of your name, whose son,
Whose nephew, whose grand-child you are;
And men,
Will, then,
Say you have followed far,
When well begun:
Which must be now,
They teach you, how.
And he that stays
To live until tomorrow hath lost two days.
So you may live in honor, as in name,
If with this truth you be inspir'd,
So may
This day
Be more, and long desired:
And with the flame
Of love be bright,
As with the light
Of bon-fires. Then
The Birthday shines, when logs not burn, but men.






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