Monday, September 6, 2010

The Noble Nature by Ben Jonson

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night -
It was the plant and flower of Light
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

The poet, Ben Jonson, in the poem ‘The Noble Nature’, talks about what makes a man noble. He compares man to a sturdy oak and to a delicate lily in order to do this.
Growing physically like a bulky tree or living long like a sturdy oak does not make a man a noble being. The huge, strong and aged oak will soon become a lifeless, ‘dry’ and withered piece of log. So too will be the fate of a man who is only blessed with long life and physical and material well being.
The lily plant has a short life. It blooms in May and is very beautiful. Although the flower has the life span of a day and falls and dies by nightfall, it spreads beauty and delight in that short period. The poet feels that a meaningful life like the lily flower, though short, is what makes a man noble and even though a man’s life is short it can be a perfect life.


Narmadha.M said...


Dr.RCRout said...

I read this in my secondary school.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Doth means?

Unknown said...

Doth means?

Sohan Lal choudhry rajasthan said...

Doth is like does in poetry.