Here you will find the Long Poem Mr. Francis Beaumont's Letter to Ben Jonson of poet Francis Beaumont
The sun, which doth the greatest comfort bring To absent friends (because the self-same thing They know they see, however absent), is Here our best hay-maker (forgive me this, It is our country style); in this warm shine I lie, and dream of your full Mermaid wine. Oh, we have water mixed with claret-lees, Drink apt to bring in drier heresies Than beer, good only for the sonnet strain, With fustian metaphors to stuff the brain; So mixed that given to the thirstiest one 'Twill not prove alms unless he have the stone. I think with one draught man's invention fades, Two cups had quite marred Homer's Iliads ; 'Tis liquor that will find out Sutcliffe's wit, Lie where it will, and make him write worse yet. Filled with such moisture, in a grievous qualm, Did Robert Wisdom write his singing psalm ; And so must I do this, and yet I think It is a potion sent us down to drink By special providence, keeps us from fights, Makes us not laugh when we make legs to knights ; 'Tis this that keeps our minds fit for our states, A med'cine to obey our magistrates. For we do live more free than you ; no hate, No envy of another's happy state Moves us, we are all equal, every whit ; Of land, that God gives men here, is their wit, If we consider fully, for our best And gravest man will, with his main house-jest, Scarce please you ; we want subtlety to do The city tricks?lie, hate, and flatter too. Here are none that can bear a painted show, Strike when you wink, and then lament the blow, Who, like mills set the right way to grind, Can make their gains alike with every wind. Only some fellow with the subtlest pate Amongst us, may perchance equivocate At selling of a horse, and that's the most. Methinks the little wit I had is lost Since I saw you ; for wit is like a rest Held up at tennis, which men do the best With the best gamesters. What things have we seen Done at the Mermaid ! heard words that have been So nimble and so full of subtle flame, As if that everyone from whence they came Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest, And had resolved to live a fool the rest Of his dull life ; then when there has been thrown Wit able enough to justify the town For three days past; wit that might warrant be For the whole city to talk foolishly Till that were cancelled, and when we were gone, We left an air behind, which was alone Able to make the two next companies Right witty, though they were downright cockneys. When I remember this, and see that now The country gentlemen begin to allow My wit for dry-bobs, then I needs must cry, I see my days of ballading are nigh ; I can already riddle, and can sing Catches, sell bargains, and I fear shall bring Myself to speak the hardest words I find Over as fast as any, with one wind That takes no medicines. But one thought of thee Makes me remember all these things to be The wit of our young men, fellows that show No part of good, yet utter all they know ; Who like trees and the guard have growing souls Only ; strong destiny, which all controls, I hope hath left a better fate in store For me, thy friend, than to live evermore Banished unto this home ; 'twill once again Bring me to thee, who wilt make smooth and plain The way of knowledge for me, and then I Who have no good in me but simplicity, Know that it will my greatest comfort be To acknowledge all the rest to come from thee.