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.
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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Ben Jonson Poems
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.
His Excuse For Loving
Let it not your wonder move, Less your laughter, that I love. Though I now write fifty years, I have had, and have, my peers.
A Farewell To The World
FALSE world, good night! since thou hast brought That hour upon my morn of age; Henceforth I quit thee from my thought,
Conditions Of Living
Living a whole life has three conditions: absorbing work which demands and brings fulfilment, a group of friends with whom to exchange minds,
On My First Daughter
Here lies, to each her parents' ruth, Mary, the daughter of their youth; Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
An Ode To Himself
Where dost thou careless lie, Buried in ease and sloth? Knowledge that sleeps doth die;
The Noble Nature
It is not growing like a tree in bulk, doth make Man better be; or standing long an oak three hundred year,
Come, My Celia
Come, my Celia, let us prove While we may, the sports of love; Time will not be ours forever; He at length our good will sever.
A Fit Of Rhyme Against Rhyme
Rhyme, the rack of finest wits, That expresseth but by fits True conceit,
Song To Celia Ii
Drink to me only with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup, And I'll not look for wine.
Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kisse but in the cup, And Ile not looke for wine.
For A Girl In A Book
Kim, composite of all my loves, less real than most, more real than all; of my making, all the good and some of the bad, yet of yourself;
To John Donne
Donne, the delight of Phoebus and each Muse Who, to thy one, all other brains refuse; Whose every work of thy most early wit
That Women Are But Men's Shadows
Follow a shadow, it still flies you; Seem to fly it, it will pursue: So court a mistress, she denies you; Let her alone, she will court you.
Quotationsmore quotations »
''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...
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.