Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO SICKNESS, by BEN JONSON



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TO SICKNESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Why, disease, dost thou molest
Last Line: None but them, and leave the rest.
Subject(s): Sickness; Small Pox; Illness


Why, disease, dost thou molest
Ladies, and of them the best?
Do not men, ynow of rites
To thy altars, by their nights
Spent in surfeits: and their days,
And nights too, in worser ways?
Take heed, sickness, what you do,
I shall fear, you'll surfeit too.
Live not we, as, all thy stalls,
Spittles, pest-house, hospitals,
Scarce will take our present store?
And this age will build no more:
Pray thee, feed contented, then,
Sickness, only on us men.
Or if needs thy lust will taste
Womankind; devour the waste
Livers, round about the town.
But, forgive me, with thy crown
They maintain the truest trade,
And have more diseases made.
What should, yet, thy palate please?
Daintiness, and softer ease,
Sleeked limbs, and finest blood?
If thy leanness love such food,
There are those, that, for thy sake,
Do enough; and who would take
Any pains; yea, think it price,
To become thy sacrifice.
That distil their husbands' land
In decoctions; and are manned
With ten emp'rics, in their chamber,
Lying for the spirit of amber.
That for the oil of Talc, dare spend
More than citizens dare lend
Them, and all their officers.
That, to make all pleasure theirs,
Will by coach, and water go,
Every stew in town to know;
Dare entail their loves on any,
Bald, or blind, or ne'er so many:
And, for thee, at common game,
Play away, health, wealth, and fame.
These, disease, will thee deserve:
And will, long ere thou shouldst starve,
On their beds, most prostitute,
Move it, as their humblest suit,
In thy justice to molest
None but them, and leave the rest.





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