C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 11: Commentary; Jonson's Literary Record; Supplementary Notes; Index

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pg 371VI. SIR JOHN ROE TO JONSONTo Ben. Iohnson, 6 Ian. 1603 [i.e. 1604]

  • 1THe State and mens affaires are the best playes
  • 2Next yours. 'Tis nor more nor lesse thã due praise.
  • 3Write, but touch not the much descending race
  • 4Of Lords houses, so settled in worths place,
  • 5As but themselves none thinke them usurpers.
  • 6It is no fault in thee to suffer theirs.
  • 7If the Queene Masque, or King a hunting goe,
  • 8Though all the Court follow, Let them. We know
  • 9Like them in goodnesse that Court ne'r will be,
  • 10For that were virtue, and not flatterie.
  • 11Forget we were thrust out. It is but thus
  • 12God threatens Kings, Kings Lords, as Lords doe us.
  • 13Iudge of strangers, Trust and believe your friend,
  • 14And so me; And when I true friendship end,
  • 15With guilty cõscience let me be worse stũg,
  • 16Then with Pophams sentence theeves, or Cookes tongue
  • 17Traitors are. Friends are our selves. This I thee tell
  • 18As to my friend, and to my selfe as Counsell:
  • 19Let for a while the times unthrifty rout
  • 20Contemne learning, and all your studies flout.
  • 21Let them scorne Hell, they will a Sergeant feare,
  • 22More then wee that, ere long; God may forbear,
  • 23But Creditors will not. Let them increase
  • 24In riot and excesse as their meanes cease,
  • 25Let them scorne him that made them, and still shun
  • 26His Grace, but love the whore who hath undone
  • 27Them, and their soules. But; that they, that allow
  • 28But one God, should have religions enough
  • 29For the Queens Masque, & their husbands, for more
  • 30Then all the Gentiles knew, or Atlas bore.
  • 31Well, let all passe, and trust him who nor cracks
  • 32The bruised Reed, nor quencheth smoaking flaxe.

From the Poems of John Donne, 1635, pp. 207–8, printed as if by Donne. In l. 22 the text has 'More then wee them; that ere long God … '. Grierson reads after two MSS. 'More then we that; ere long God … '. In l. 18 we read with Harl. MS. 4064 'as Counsell' for 'is Counsell'. For this poem see Conv. Drum. 155–9.

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