Ben Jonson

11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England

Viii: Song: To Sicknesse

Why, Disease, dost thou molest
Ladies? and of them the best?
Do not men, ynow of rites
To thy altars, by their nights
Spent in surfets: and their dayes,
And nights too, in worser wayes?
Take heed, Sicknesse, what you do,
I shall feare, you'll surfet too.
Live not we, as, all thy stals,
Spittles, pest-house, hospitals,
Scarce will take our present store?
And this age will build no more:
'Pray thee, feed contented, then,
Sicknesse; only on us men.
Or if needs thy lust will taste
Woman-kind; devoure the waste
Livers, round about the town.
But forgive me, with thy crown
They maintaine the truest trade,
And have more diseases made.
What should, yet, thy pallat please?
Daintinesse, and softer ease,
Sleeked lims, and finest blood?
If thy leannesse love such food,
There are those, that, for thy sake,
Do enough; and who would take
Any paines; yea, think it price,
To become thy sacrifice.
That distill their husbands land
In decoctions; and are mann'd
With ten Emp'ricks, in their chamber,
Lying for the spirit of amber.
That for the oyle of Talck, dare spend
More than citizens dare lend
Them, and all their officers.
That to make all pleasure theirs,
Will by coach, and water go,
Every stew in towne to know;
Date entayle their loves on any,
Bald, or blind, or nere so many:
And, for thee at common game,
Play away, health, wealth, and fame.
These, disease, will thee deserve:
And will, long ere thou should'st starve,
On their bed most prostitute,
Move it, as their humblest sute,
In thy justice to molest
None but them, and leave the rest.
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