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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)


BEAUTIES, have ye seen this toy,

Calléd love, a little boy

Almost naked, wanton, blind,

Cruel now, and then as kind?

If he be amongst ye, say!

He is Venus’ runaway.

He hath of marks about him plenty;

Ye shall know him among twenty;

All his body is a fire,

And his breath a flame entire,

That, being shot like lightning in,

Wounds the heart, but not the skin.

He doth bear a golden bow,

And a quiver, hanging low,

Full of arrows, that outbrave

Dian’s shafts, where, if he have

Any head more sharp than other,

With that first he strikes his mother.

Trust him not: his words, though sweet,

Seldom with his heart do meet;

All his practice is deceit,

Every gift is but a bait;

Not a kiss, but poison bears,

And most treason in his tears.

If by these ye please to know him,

Beauties, be not nice, but show him.

Though ye had a will to hide him,

Now, we hope, ye’ll not abide him,

Since ye hear his falser play,

And that he’s Venus’ runaway.