190. 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 professed 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.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition