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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 ... more »

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Quotations

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  • Have you seen but a bright lily grow
    Before rude hands have touch'd it?
    Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow
    Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
    Have you felt the wool of...
    Ben Jonson (1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. A Celebration of Charis in Ten Lyrick Peeces (l. 21-30). . . The Complete Poems [Ben Jonson]. Geo...
  • 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;
    Poets, though divine, are men:
    Some hav...
    Ben Jonson (1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. A Celebration of Charis in Ten Lyrick Peeces (l. 1-12). . . The Complete Poems [Ben Jonson]. Geor...
  • Rhyme, the rack of finest wits,
    That expresseth but by fits
    True conceit,
    Spoiling senses of their treasure,
    Cozening judgment with a measure,
    But false weight; Ben Jonson (1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. A Fit of Rime against Rime (l. 1-12). . . The Complete Poems [Ben Jonson]. George Parfitt, ed. (1...
  • Hear me, O God!
    A broken heart,
    Is my best part:
    Use still thy rod,
    That I may prove
    Therein, thy Love.

    If thou hadst not
    Beene stern to mee. ...
    Ben Jonson (1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. A Hymn to God the Father (l. 1-11). . . The Complete Poems [Ben Jonson]. George Parfitt, ed. (198...
  • ''Blueness doth express trueness.''
    Ben Jonson (1573-1637), British dramatist, poet. Amorphus, in Cynthia's Revels, act 5, sc. 2.
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Comments about Ben Jonson

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  • 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.

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

    man your poems are tigth! I love reading them.

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