Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO SIR RALPH SHELTON, by BEN JONSON



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TO SIR RALPH SHELTON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Not he that flies the court for want of clothes
Last Line: Makes the whole longer, than 'twas given him, much.


Not he that flies the court for want of clothes,
At hunting rails, having no gift in oaths,
Cries out 'gainst cocking, since he cannot bet,
Shuns prease, for two main causes, pox, and debt,
With me can merit more, than that good man,
Whose dice not doing well, to a pulpit ran.
No, Shelton, give me thee, canst want all these,
But dost it out of judgement, not disease;
Dar'st breathe in any air; and with safe skill,
Till thou canst find the best, choose the least ill.
That to the vulgar canst thyself apply,
Treading a better path, not contrary;
And, in their errors' maze, thine own way know:
Which is to live to conscience, not to show.
He, that, but living half his age, dies such;
Makes the whole longer, than 'twas given him, much.





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