On Don Surly

A poem by Ben Jonson

Don Surly, to aspire the glorious name
Of a great man, and to be thought the same,
Makes serious use of all great trade he know.
He speaks to men with a Rhinocerotes' nose,
Which he thinks great; and so reads verses too, 5
And that is done as he saw great men do.
He has timpanies of business in his face,
And can forget men's names with a great grace.
He will both argue and discourse in oaths,
Both which are great; and laugh at ill-made clothes 10
That's greater yet—to cry his own up neat.
He doth, at meals, alone his pheasant eat,
Which is main greatness; and at his still board
He drinks to no man; that's, too, like a lord.
He keeps another's wife, which is a spice 15
Of solemn greatness. And he dares, at dice,
Blaspheme God greatly, or some poor hind beat
That breathes in his dog's way; and this is great.
Nay more, for greatness' sake, he will be one
May hear my epigrams, but like of none, 20
Surly, use other arts; these only can
Style thee a most great fool, but no great man.

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