Quotations From BEN JONSON


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  • He threatens many that hath injured one.
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. repr. In The Complete Plays, vol. 2, ed. G.A. Wilkes (1981). Silius, in Fall of Sejanus, act 2, l. 476 (performed 1603, published 1616).
  • We are persons of quality, I assure you, and women of fashion, and come to see and to be seen.
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. repr. In The Complete Plays, vol. 2, ed. G.A. Wilkes (1981). Mirth, in The Staple of News, "Induction," l. 8-10 (1626). See Ovid on fashion.

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  • Blueness doth express trueness.
    Ben Jonson (1573-1637), British dramatist, poet. Amorphus, in Cynthia's Revels, act 5, sc. 2.
  • 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).

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  • 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). Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden (written 1619, published 1711).
  • '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, l. 179-80 (performed 1601, published 1616).
  • Language most shews a man: Speak, that I may see thee.
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter, para. 121, "Explorata: Oratio Imago Animi," (1641), ed. Felix E. Schelling (1892).
  • The players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out [a] line. My answer hath been, "Would he had blotted a thousand."
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter, "De Shakespeare Nostrati," (1641), ed. Felix E. Schelling (1892). Nonetheless, Jonson wrote, "I loved the man and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as any."
  • They say princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship. The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a prince as soon as his groom.
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter, para. 95, "Illiteratus Princeps," (1641), ed. Felix E. Schelling (1892). The aphorism is attributed to the Greek philosopher Carneades by Montaigne (in Essays, bk. 3, ch. 7 "Of the Incommodity of Greatness," 1588): "Princes' children learnt nothing aright but to manage and ride horses; forsomuch as in all other exercises every man yieldeth and giveth them the victory; but a horse, who is neither a flatterer nor a courtier, will as soon throw the child of a king as the son of a base porter."
  • Talking is the disease of age.
    Ben Jonson (c. 1572-1637), British dramatist, poet. Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter, para. 46, "Lingua Sapientis," (1641), ed. Felix E. Schelling (1892).
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