Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO MY CHOSEN FRIEND, LEARNED TRANSLATOR OF LUCAN, THOMAS MAY, by BEN JONSON



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TO MY CHOSEN FRIEND, LEARNED TRANSLATOR OF LUCAN, THOMAS MAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When, rome, I read thee in thy mighty pair
Last Line: The sun translated, or the son of may.
Subject(s): May, Thomas (1595-1650); Translating & Interpreting


When, Rome, I read thee in thy mighty pair,
And see both climbing up the slippery stair
Of Fortune's wheel by Lucan driven about,
And the world in it, I begin to doubt,
At every line some pin thereof should slack
At least, if not the general engine crack.
But when again I view the parts so peized,
And those in number so, and measure raised,
As neither Pompey's popularity,
Caesar's ambition, Cato's liberty,
Calm Brutus' tenor start; but all along
Keep due proportion in the ample song,
It makes me, ravished with just wonder, cry
What muse, or rather god of harmony
Taught Lucan these true moods! Replies my sense,
What gods but those of arts, and eloquence?
Phoebus and Hermes? They whose tongue, or pen
Are still the interpreters 'twixt gods, and men!
But who hath them interpreted, and brought
Lucan's whole frame unto us, and so wrought,
As not the smallest joint, or gentlest word
In the great mass, or machine there is stirred?
The self-same genius! So the work will say.
The sun translated, or the son of May.





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