Epigrams: To Lucy, Countess of Bedford, with John Donne's Satires

Original Text: 
Ben Jonson, The workes of Benjamin Jonson (London: Will Stansby, 1616). STC 14751.
2Life of the Muses' day, their morning star!
3If works, not th' author's, their own grace should look,
4Whose poems would not wish to be your book?
5But these, desir'd by you, the maker's ends
6Crown with their own. Rare poems ask rare friends.
7Yet satires, since the most of mankind be
8Their unavoided subject, fewest see;
9For none e'er took that pleasure in sin's sense
10But, when they heard it tax'd, took more offence.
11They, then, that living where the matter is bred,
12Dare for these poems, yet, both ask and read
13And like them too, must needfully, though few,
14Be of the best; and 'mongst those best are you,
15Lucy, you brightness of our sphere, who are
16The Muses' evening, as their morning star.


1] Lucy, daughter of John Harington, was married to Edward, third Earl of Bedford. She was esteemed as a connoisseur of pictures, a lover of gardens, and a patroness of literary men, including Jonson, Donne, Daniel, Drayton, and Florio. She cut a brilliant figure at court, and took a prominent place in several court masques, including Jonson's masques of Blackness, of Beauty, of Queens, and Hymenaei. Jonson celebrates her in two other epigrams. Donne's Satires were published in 1633 but written much earlier.
Lucy, you brightness: brightness, because the Latin "Lucia" is derived from "lux." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.156-57.