scorned so mean a refuge

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member

this is from the play Every Man in his Humour by Ben Jonson.

I am a poor gentleman, a soldier; one that, in the better state of my fortunes, scorned so mean a refuge...

I would like to paraphrase the bold bit and see if I understood it correctly:
... at a time when I was more fortunate than now, I despised/felt contempt for such a mean/shabby place to hide/hiding place...

What do you think?

P.S. This is the whole quote for your information:
Brai. I cannot take leave on 'em so; I will venture, come what will. [Comes forward.] Gentlemen, please you change a few crowns for a very excellent blade here? I am a poor gentleman, a soldier, one that, in the better state of my fortunes, scorned so mean a refuge; but now it is the humour of necessity to have it so. You seem to be gentlemen well affected to martial men, else I should rather die with silence, than live with shame: however, vouchsafe to remember it is my want speaks, not myself; this condition agrees not with my spirit—
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes that is correct although a refuge is not necessarily a place in which to hide (conceal oneself). It can also be a place of safety or even a shelter from the elements. Context will reveal the exact meaning.
    < Previous | Next >