Ben Jonson

(11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637 / London / England)

Ben Jonson
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Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems. A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, Jonson had an unparalleled breadth of influence on Jacobean and Caroline playwrights and poets.

Poetry

Jonson's poetry, like his drama, is informed by his classical learning. Some of his better-known poems are close translations of Greek or Roman models; all display the careful attention to form and style that often came naturally to those... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Blueness doth express trueness.''
    Ben Jonson (1573-1637), British dramatist, poet. Amorphus, in Cynthia's Revels, act 5, sc. 2.
  • ''I do honour the very flea of his dog.''
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. repr. In The Complete Plays, vol. 1, ed. G.A. Wilkes (1981). Cob, in Every Man in His Humour, act ...
  • ''Donne, for not keeping of accent, deserved hanging ... Shakespeare wanted art ... Sharpham, Day, Dekker, were all rogues.''
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. repr. In Ben Jonson's Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden, ed. R.F. Patterson (1923...
  • ''For I loved the man and do honour his memory, on this side of idolatry, as much as any.''
    Ben Jonson (1573-1637), British dramatist, poet. "De Shakespeare Nostrati," Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter (1641).
  • '''Tis the common disease of all your musicians that they know no mean, to be entreated, either to begin or end.''
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. repr. In The Complete Plays, vol. 2, ed. G.A. Wilkes (1981). Julia, in The Poetaster, act 2, sc. 2...
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Comments about Ben Jonson

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  • Rookie Celia Warren (7/22/2013 1:29:00 AM)

    I think I'm in love with Ben Jonson. I certainly love his poems. And his voice is so modern - as are his looks. I have gazed at his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London and he could be a 21st century man. Then I return to his poetry - his voice is so modern in so many ways. He can make me laugh in one, and weep in another - the art of the true poet/dramatist.

  • Rookie Lui Pesamino (10/18/2007 9:07:00 PM)

    man your poems are tigth! I love reading them.

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Best Poem of Ben Jonson

On My First Son

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou'wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scap'd world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, ask'd, say here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

Read the full of On My First Son

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