An Elegy by Ben Jonson

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Though beauty be the mark of praise,
And yours of whom I sing be such
As not the world can praise too much,
Yet ’tis your virtue now I raise.

A virtue, like allay, so gone
Throughout your form, as, though that move
And draw and conquer all men’s love,
This sùbjects you to love of one.

Wherein you triumph yet; because
’Tis of yourself, and that you use
The noblest freedom, not to choose
Against or faith or honor’s laws.

But who should less expect from you,
In whom alone Love lives again?
By whom he is restored to men,
And kept, and bred, and brought up true.

His falling temples you have reared,
The withered garlands ta’en away;
His altars kept from the decay
That envy wished, and nature feared;

And on them burn so chaste a flame,
With so much loyalties’ expense,
As Love, t’ acquit such excellence,
Is gone himself into your name.

And you are he; the deity
To whom all lovers are designed
That would their better objects find;
Among which faithful troop am I.

Who, as an offspring at your shrine,
Have sung this hymn, and here entreat
One spark of your diviner heat
To light upon a love of mine.

Which, if it kindle not, but scant
Appear, and that to shortest view,
Yet give me leave t’ adore in you
What I in her am grieved to want.

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