The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Plea For A Present

Ben Jonson

Source: Harrison S. Morris, ed., In The Yule-Log Glow--Book 3; Christmas Poems from 'round the World. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1900 pp. 112-113. Project Gutenberg eText # 20586.

Father John Burges,
Necessity urges
My woeful cry
To Sir Robert Pie:
And that he will venture
To send my debenture.
Tell him his Ben
Knew the time when
He loved the Muses;
Though now he refuses
To take apprehension
Of a year's pension,
And more is behind;
Put him in mind
Christmas is near,
And neither good cheer,
Mirth, fooling, nor wit,
Nor any least fit
Of gambol or sport
Will come to the court
If there be no money,
No plover or cony
Will come to the table,
Or wine to enable
The muse, or the poet,
The parish will know it

Nor any quick warming-pan help him to bed;
If the 'Chequer be empty, so will be his head.

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