Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HADDINGTON MASQUE: EPITHALAMION, by BEN JONSON



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THE HADDINGTON MASQUE: EPITHALAMION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise
Last Line: Shine, hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!
Subject(s): Wedding Song; Epithalamium


Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise
The god whose nights outshine his days;
Hymen, whose hallowed rites
Could never boast of brighter lights;
Whose bands pass liberty.
Two of your troop, that with the morn were free,
Are now waged to his war.
And what they are,
If you'll perfection see,
Yourselves must be.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

What joy or honours can compare
With holy nuptials, when they are
Made out of equal parts
Of years, of states, of hands, of hearts!
When in the happy choice
The spouse and spoused have the foremost voice!
Such, glad of Hymen's war,
Live what they are,
And long perfection see:
And such ours be.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

The solemn state of this one night
Were fit to last an age's light;
But there are rites behind
Have less of state, but more of kind:
Love's wealthy crop of kisses,
And fruitful harvest of his mother's blisses.
Sound then to Hymen's war:
That what these are,
Who will perfection see,
May haste to be.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Love's commonwealth consists of toys;
His council are those antic boys,
Games, laughter, sports, delights,
That triumph with him on these nights;
To whom we must give way,
For now their reign begins, and lasts till day.
They sweeten Hymen's war,
And in that jar,
Make all that married be
Perfection see.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Why stays the bridegroom to invade
Her that would be a matron made?
Goodnight whilst yet we may
Goodnight to you a virgin say:
Tomorrow rise the same
Your mother is, and use a nobler name.
Speed well in Hymen's war,
That, what you are,
By your perfection we
And all may see.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Tonight is Venus' vigil kept,
This night no bridegroom ever slept;
And if the fair bride do,
The married say, 'tis his fault too.
Wake then, and let your lights
Wake too; for they'll tell nothing of your nights,
But that in Hymen's war
You perfect are.
And such perfection we
Do pray should be.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

That ere the rosy-fingered morn
Behold nine moons, there may be born
A babe, to uphold the fame
Of Ratcliffe's blood and Ramsey's name:
That may, in his great seed,
Wear the long honours of his father's deed.
Such fruits of Hymen's war
Most perfect are;
And all perfection we
Wish you should see.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!





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