A Farewell to the World

Ben Jonson.
1573–1637

FALSE world, good night! since thou hast brought

  That hour upon my morn of age;

Henceforth I quit thee from my thought,

  My part is ended on thy stage.

Yes, threaten, do. Alas! I fear

  As little as I hope from thee:

I know thou canst not show nor bear

  More hatred than thou hast to me.

My tender, first, and simple years

  Thou didst abuse and then betray;

Since stir’d’st up jealousies and fears,

  When all the causes were away.

Then in a soil hast planted me

  Where breathe the basest of thy fools;

Where envious arts professèd be,

  And pride and ignorance the schools;

Where nothing is examined, weigh’d,

  But as ’tis rumour’d, so believed;

Where every freedom is betray’d,

  And every goodness tax’d or grieved.

But what we’re born for, we must bear:

  Our frail condition it is such

That what to all may happen here,

  If ‘t chance to me, I must not grutch.

Else I my state should much mistake

  To harbour a divided thought

From all my kind—that, for my sake,

  There should a miracle be wrought.

No, I do know that I was born

  To age, misfortune, sickness, grief:

But I will bear these with that scorn

  As shall not need thy false relief.

Nor for my peace will I go far,

  As wanderers do, that still do roam;

But make my strengths, such as they are,

  Here in my bosom, and at home.

literature, poetry

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