191. The Noble Balm

Ben Jonson. 1573-1637

I send nor balms nor cor'sives to your wound:
        Your fate hath found
A gentler and more agile hand to tend
The cure of that which is but corporal;
And doubtful days, which were named critical,
        Have made their fairest flight
        And now are out of sight.
Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind
        Wrapp'd in this paper lie,
Which in the taking if you misapply,
        You are unkind.

        Your covetous hand,
Happy in that fair honour it hath gain'd,
        Must now be rein'd.
True valour doth her own renown command
In one full action; nor have you now more
To do, than be a husband of that store.
        Think but how dear you bought
        This fame which you have caught:
Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth.
        'Tis wisdom, and that high,
For men to use their fortune reverently,
        Even in youth.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition