The Complete Poems of Ben Jonson


His adoption of classical ideals was combined with a vigorous interest in contemporary life and a strong faith in native idiom. Within the urbane elegance of his verse forms he contrived a directness and energy of statement clearly related to colloquial speech, and this characteristic fusion of restraint and vitality gave to the seventeenth-century lyric its most distinctive quality. As well as the entire body of Jonson's non-dramatic verse, extensively annotated, this edition contains many of the songs from his ...

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His adoption of classical ideals was combined with a vigorous interest in contemporary life and a strong faith in native idiom. Within the urbane elegance of his verse forms he contrived a directness and energy of statement clearly related to colloquial speech, and this characteristic fusion of restraint and vitality gave to the seventeenth-century lyric its most distinctive quality. As well as the entire body of Jonson's non-dramatic verse, extensively annotated, this edition contains many of the songs from his plays and masques and his translation of 'Horace, of the Art of Poetry'. His 'Conversations with Drummond', which adds much to our sense of the man, appears as an Appendix, as does 'Discoveries'; together they shed valuable light on Jonson's poetic theory and practice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140422771
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/6/1988
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 699,375
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Ben Jonson was born in 1572, the posthumous son of a minister, and, thanks to an unknown patron, was educated at Westminster. After this he was for a brief time apprenticed to his stepfather as a bricklayer. He served as a soldier in the Low Countries and married sometime between 1592 and 1595. In 1597 he began to work for Henslowe’s company as player and playwright and during the following two years the first truly Jonsonian comedies, Everyman in his Humour and Everyman out of his Humour, were produced. These were followed by Cynthia’s Revels (1600) and The Poetaster (1601). Jonson’s great run of comedies consist of Volpone (1606), The Silent Woman (1609), The Alchemist (1610) and Bartholomew Fair (1614). His two Roman tragedies, Sejanus his Fall (1603) and Catiline his Conspiracy (1611), were failures on the stage and his later comedies show a sad falling-off. From 1605 onwards he was constantly producing masques for the court, a form of entertainment that reached its highest elaboration in Jonson’s hands. In 1616 he was granted a royal pension and made, in effect, Poet Laureate. He was also an honorary graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge. Between 1618 and 1619 Jonson walked to Edinburgh, where he was made an honorary burgess and lavishly entertained at a civic banquet. There he made a long stay with the poet William Drummond. His last years were unhappy: under King Charles I he lost favor and was replaced as masque writer after quarrelling with Inigo Jones, the designer of the masques. He also became paralyzed and was unable to publish the second volume of his Workes. Ben Jonson died on August 6, 1637.

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Table of Contents

The Complete Poems Preface Table of Dates Further Reading Epigrams Dedication I. To the Reader II. To My Book III. To My Bookseller IV. To King James V. On the Union VI. To Alchemists VII. On the New Hot-House VIII. On a Robbery IX. To All, to Whom I Write X. To My Lord Ignorant XI. On Something, that Walks Somewhere XII. On Lieutenant Shift XIII. To Doctor Empiric XIV. To William Camden XV. On Court-Worm XVI. To Brain-Hardy XVII. To the Learned Critic XVIII. To My Mere English Censurer XIX. On Sir Cod the Perfumed XX. To the Same Sir Cod XXI. On Reformed Gamester XXII. On My First Daughter XXIII. To John Donne XXIV. To the Parliament XXV. On Sir Voluptuous Beast XXVI. On the Same Beast XXVII. On Sir John Roe XXVIII. On Don Surly XXIX. To Sir Annual Tilter XXX. To Person Guilty XXXI. On Bank the Usurer XXXII. On Sir John Roe XXXIII. To the Same XXXIV. Of Death XXXV. To King James XXXVI. To the Ghost of Martial XXXVII. On Cheveril the Lawyer XXXVIII. To Person Guilty XXXIX. On Old Colt XL. On Margaret Ratcliffe XLI. On Gypsy XLII. On Giles and Joan XLIII. To Robert, Earl of Salisbury XLIV. On Chuff, Banks the Usurer's Kinsman XLV. On My First Son XLVI. To Sir Luckless Woo-All XLVII. To the Same XLVIII. On Mongrel Esquire XLVIX. To Playwright L. To Sir Cod LI. To King James LII. To Censorious Courtling LIII. To Old-End Gatherer LIV. On Cheveril LV. To Francis Beaumont LVI. On Poet-Ape LVII. On Bawds and Usurers LVIII. To Groom Idiot LIX. On Spies LX. To William, Lord Mounteagle LXI. To Fool, or Knave LXII. To Fine Lady Would-Be LXIII. To Robert, Earl of Salisbury LXIV. To the Same LXV. To My Muse LXVI. To Sir Henry Cary LXVII. To Thomas, Earl of Suffolk LXVIII. On Playwright LXIX. To Pertinax Cob LXX. To William Roe LXXI. On Court-Parrot LXXII. To Courtling LXXIII. To Fine Grand LXXIV. To Thomas, Lord Chancellor LXXV. On Lip the Teacher LXXVI. On Lucy, Countess of Bedford LXXVII. To One that Desired Me Not to Name Him LXXVIII. To Hornet LXXIX. To Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland LXXX. Of Life and Death LXXXI. To Prowl the Plagiary LXXXII. On Cashiered Capt[ain] Surly LXXXIII. To a Friend LXXXIV. To Lucy, Countess of Bedford LXXXV. To Sir Henry Goodyere LXXXVI. To the Same LXXXVII. On Captain Hazard the Cheater LXXXVIII. On English Monsieur LXXXIX. To Edward Alleyn XC. On Mill, My Lady's Woman XCI. To Sir Horace Vere XCII. The New Cry XCIII. To Sir John Radcliffe XCIV. To Lucy, Countess of Bedford, with Mr. Donne's Satires XCV. To Sir Henry Savile XCVI. To John Donne XCVII. On the New Motion XCVIII. To Sir Thomas Roe XCIX. To the Same C. On Playwright CI. Inviting a Friend to Supper CII. To William, Earl of Pembroke CIII. To Mary, Lady Wroth CIV. To Susan, Countess of Montgomery CV. To Mary, Lady Wroth CVI. To Sir Edward Herbert CVII. To Captain Hungry CVIII. To True Soldiers CIX. To Sir Henry Nevil CX. To Clement Edmonds CXI. To the Same CXII. To a Weak Gamester in Poetry CXIII. To Sir Thomas Overbury CXIV. To Mrs. Philip Sidney CXV. On the Town's Honest Man CXVI. To Sir William Jephson CXVII. On Groin CXVIII. On Gut CXIX. To Sir Ra[l]ph Shelton CXX. Epitaph on S. P., a Child of Q[ueen] E[lizabeth's] Chapel CXXI. To Benjamin Rudyerd CXXII. To the Same CXXIII. To the Same CXXIV. Epitaph on Elizabeth, L. H.
CXXV. To Sir William Uvedale CXXVI. To His Lady, then Mrs. Cary CXXVII. To Esme, Lord Aubigny CXXVIII. To William Roe CXXIX. To Mime CXXX. To Alphonso Ferrabosco, on His Book CXXXI. To the Same CXXXII. To Mr. Joshua Sylvester CXXXIII. On the Famous Voyage

The Forest
I. Why I Write not of Love II. To Penshurst III. To Sir Robert Wroth IV. To the World V. Song. To Celia VI. To the Same VII. Song. That Women are but Men's Shadows VIII. To Sickness IX. Song. To Celia X. "And must I sing? What subject shall I choose?"
XI. Epode XII. Epistle to Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland XIII. Epistle. To Katherine, Lady Aubigny XIV. Ode. To Sir William Sidney, on His Birthday XV. To Heaven

To the Reader I. Poems of Devotion
1. The Sinner's Sacrifice
2. A Hymn to God the Father
3. A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour
II. A Celebration of Charis in Ten Lyric Pieces
1. His Excuse for Loving
2. How He Saw Her
3. What He Suffered
4. Her Triumph
5. Her Discourse with Cupid
6. Claiming a Second Kiss by Desert
7. Begging Another, on Colour of Mending the Former
8. Urging Her of a Promise
9. Her Man Described by Her Own Dictamen
10. Another Lady's Exception Present at the Hearing
III. The Musical Strife; in a Pastoral Dialogue IV. "Oh do not wanton with those eyes"
V. In the Person of Womankind VI. Another. In Defence of Their Inconstancy. A Song VII. A Nymph's Passion VIII. The Hour-Glass IX. My Picture Left in Scotland X. Against Jealousy XI. The Dream XII. An Epitaph on Master Vincent Corbet XIII. An Epistle to Sir Edward Sackville, now Earl of Dorset XIV. An Epistle to Master John Selden XV. An Epistle to a Friend, to Persuade Him to the Wars XVI. An Epitaph on Master Philip Gray XVII. Epistle to a Friend XVIII. An Elegy ("Can beauty that did prompt me first to write")
XIX. An Elegy ("By those bright eyes, at whose immortal fires")
XX. A Satirical Shrub XXI. A Little Shrub Growing By XXII. An Elegy ("Though beauty be the mark of praise")
XXIII. An Ode. To Himself XXIV. The Mind of the Frontispiece to a Book XXV. An Ode to James, Earl of Desmond XXVI. An Ode ("High-spirited friend")
XXVII. An Ode ("Helen, did Homer never see")
XXVIII. A Sonnet, to the Noble Lady, the Lady Mary Wroth XXIX. A Fit of Rhyme against Rhyme XXX. An Epigram on William, Lord Burl[eigh]
XXXI. An Epigram. To Thomas Lo[rd] Ellesmere XXXII. Another to Hiim XXXIII. An Epigram to the Councillor that Pleaded and Carried the Cause XXXIV. An Epigram. To the Small-Pox XXXV. An Epitaph XXXVI. A Song ("Come, let us here enjoy the shade")
XXXVII. An Epistle to a Friend XXXVIII. An Elegy ("'Tis true, I'm broke! Vows, oaths, and all I had")
(XXXIX. An Elegy)
XL. An Elegy ("That love's a bitter sweet, I ne'er conceive")
XLI. An Elegy ("Since you must go, and I must bid farewell")
XLII. An Elegy ("Let me be what I am, as Virgil cold")
XLIII. An Execration upon Vulcan XLIV. A Speech according to Horace XLV. An Epistle to Master Arth[ur] Squib XLVI. An Epigram on Sir Edward Coke XLVII. An Epistle Answering to One that Asked to be Sealed of the Tribe of Ben XLVIII. The Dedication of the King's New Cellar. To Bacchus XLIX. An Epigram on the Court Pucell L. An Epigram. To the Honoured -, Countess of -
LI. Lord Bacon's Birthday LII. (A Poem Sent Me by Sir William Burlase)
LIII. An Epigram. To William, Earl of Newcastle LIV. Epistle to Mr. Arthur Squib LV. To Mr. John Burges LVI. Epistle. To My Lady Covell LVII. To Master John Burges LVIII. Epigram to My Bookseller LIX. An Epigram. To William, Earl of Newcastle LX. An Epitaph, on Henry L[ord] La-ware. To the Passer-By LXI. An Epigram ("That you have seen the pride, beheld the sport")
LXII. An Epigram. To K[ing] Charles LXIII. To K[ing] Charles and Q[ueen] Mary LXIV. An Epigram. To our Great and Good K[ing] Charles LXV. An Epigram on the Prince's Birth LXVI. An Epigram to the Queen, then Lying in.
LXVII. An Ode, or Song, by All the Muses LXVIII. An Epigram. To the Household. 1630
LXIX. An Epigram. To a Friend and Son LXX. To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison LXXI. To the Right Honourable, the Lord High Treasurer of England LXXII. To the King. On His Birthday LXXIII. On the Right Honourable and Virtuous Lord Weston LXXIV. To the Right Hon[oura]ble Hierome, L[ord] Weston LXXV. Epithalamion: or, a Song LXXVI. The Humble Petition of Poor Ben to the Best of Monarchs, Masters, Men, King Charles LXXVII. To the Right Honourable, the Lord Treasurer of England. An Epigram LXXVIII. An Epigram to My Muse, the Lady Digby, on Her Husband, Sir Kenelm Digby LXXIX. A New Year's Gift Sung to King Charles. 1635
LXXX. "Fair friend, 'tis true, your beauties move"
LXXXI. On the King's Birthday LXXXII. To My L[ord] the King, on the Christening His Second Son James LXXXIII. An Elegy on the Lady Jane Pawlet, Marchion[ess] of Winton LXXXIV. Eupheme
The dedication of her cradle The song of her descent The picture of the body Her mind Her being chosen a muse Her fair offices Her happy match Her hopeful issue Her apotheosis, or relation to the saints Her inscription, or crown
LXXXV. The Praises of a Country Life (Horace, Second Epode)
LXXXVI. (Horace). Ode the First. The Fourth Book. To Venus LXXXVII. Ode IX, 3 Book, to Lydia. Dialogue of Horace and Lydia LXXXVIII. Fragmentum Petron. Arbitr. The Same Translated LXXXIX. Epigramma Martialis. Lib. VIII. lxxviii. The Same Translated

Miscellaneous Poems
I. To Thomas Palmer II. In Authorem III. Author ad Librum IV. To the Author V. To the Worthy Author M[r] John Fletcher VI. To the Right Noble Tom VII. To the London Reader VIII. To His Much and Worthily Esteemed Friend the Author IX. To the Worth Author on The Husband
X. To His Friend the Author upon His Richard
XI. To My Truly-Beloved Friend, Mr. Browne XII. To My Worthy and Honoured Friend, Mr. George Chapman XIII. On the Author, Work, and Translator XIV. To the Reader XV. To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author Mr. William Shakespeare XVI. From The Touchstone of Truth
XVII. To My Chosen Friend XVIII. The Vision of Ben Jonson XIX. On the Honoured Poems of His Honoured Friend, Sir John Beaumont, Baronet XX. To My Worthy Friend, Master Edward Filmer XXI. To My Old Faithful Servant XXII. To Mrs. Alice Sutcliffe XXIII. To My Dear Son, and Right-Learned Friend, Master Joseph Rutter XXIV. "Stay, view this stone: and, if thou beest not such"
XXV. A Speech Presented unto King James XXVI. To the Most Noble, and above His Titles, Robert, Earl of Somerset XXVII. Charles Cavendish to His Posterity XXVIII. To the Memory of that Most Honoured Lady Jane XXIX. Epitaph on Katherine, Lady Ogle XXX. An Epigram to My Jovial Good Friend Mr. Robert Dover XXXI. Ode Enthusiastic XXXII. Ode Allegoric XXXIII. Ode to Himself XXXIV. Ode ("If men, and times were now")
XXXV. "Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears")
XXXVI. "O, that joy so soon should waste!"
XXXVII. "Thou more than most sweet glove"
XXXVIII. "Queen and huntress, chaste, and fair"
XXXIX. "If I freely may discover"
XL. "Swell me a bowl with lusty wine"
XLI. "Love is blind, and a wanton"
XLII. "Blush, folly, blush: here's none that fears"
XLIII. "Wake! Our mirth begins to die"
XLIV. "Fools, they are the only nation"
XLV. "Had old Hippocrates, or Galen"
XLVI. "You that would last long, list to my song"
XLVII. "Still to be neat, still to be dressed"
XLVIII. "Modest, and fair, for fair and good are near"
XLIX. "My masters and friends, and good people draw near"
L. "It was a beauty that I saw"
LI. "Though I am young, and cannot tell"
LII. "Sound, sound aloud"
LIII. "Daughters of the subtle flood"
LIV. "Now Dian, with her burning face"
LV. "When Love at first did move"
LVI. "So beauty on the waters stood"
LVII. "If all these Cupids now were blind"
LVIII. "Had those that dwell in error foul"
LIX. "Still turn, and imitate the heaven"
LX. "Bid all profane away"
LXI. "These, these are they"
LXII. "Now, now begin to set"
LXIII. "Think yet how night doth waste"
LXIV. "O know to end, as to begin"
LXV. Epithalamion ("Glad time is at his point arrived")
LXVI. Epithalamion ("Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise")
LXVII. Charm LXVIII. "Help, help, all tongues to celebrate this wonder"
LXIX. "Who, Virtue, can thy power forget"
LXX. "Buzz, quoth the blue-fly"
LXXI. "Now, my cunning lady moon"
LXXII. "Melt earth to sea, sea flow to air"
LXXIII. "The solemn rites are well begun"
LXXIV. "Nay, nay,/You must not stay"
LXXV. "Nor yet, nor yet, O you in this night blessed"
LXXVI. "Gentle knights"
LXXVII. "O yet how early, and before her time"
LXXVIII. "Gentle Love, be not dismayed"
LXXIX. "A crown, a crown for Love's bright head"
LXXX. "What just excuse had aged Time"
LXXXI. "O how came Love, that is himself a fire"
LXXXII. "This motion ws of love begot"
LXXXIII. "Have men beheld the graces dance"
LXXXIV. "Give end unto thy pastimes, Love"
LXXXV. "Bow both your heads at once, and hearts"
LXXXVI. "So breaks the sun earth's rugged chains"
LXXXVII. "Soft, subtle fire, thou soul of art"
LXXXVIII. "How young and fresh I am tonight"
LXXXIX. "Hum drum, sauce for a cony"
XC. "Nor do you think that their legs is all"
XCI. "Break, Fant'sy, from thy cave of cloud"
XCII. Hymn XCIII. "Come on, come on!"
XCIV. "It follows now you are to prove"
XCV. "An eye of looking back were well"
XCVI. "Howe'er the brightness may amaze"
XCVII. "Now look and see in yonder throne"
XCVIII. "From the famous Peak of Derby"
XCIX. "The fairy beam upon you"
C. "To the old, long life and treasure"
CI. "Cocklorrel woulds needs have the devil his guest"
CII. Ballad CIII. "Which way and whence the lightning flew"
CIV. "Come, noble nymphs, and do not hide"
CV. Euclia's Hymn CVI. "Come forth, come forth, the gentle Spring"
CVII. A Song of Welcome to King Charles CVIII. A Song of the Moon CIX. Proludium CX. A Panegyre, on the Happy Entrance of James CXI. (a) Murder; (b) Peace; (c) The Power of Gold CXII. The Phoenix Analysed CXIII. Over the Door at the Entrance into the Apollo CXIV. An Epistle to a Friend CXV. Here Follow Certain Other Verses CXVI. Ben Jonson's Grace before King James CXVII. (To Mr. Ben Jonson in His Journey, by Mr. Craven); This was Ben Jonson's Answer of the Sudden CXVIII. An Expostulation with Inigo Jones CXIX. To Inigo, Marquess Would Be, a Corollary CXX. To a Friend, an Epigram of Him CXXI. (To Mr. Jonson upon these Verses); To My Detractor CXXII. (On The Magnetic Lady); Ben Jonson's Answer CXXIII. The Garland of the Blessed Virgin Mary CXXIV. The Reverse on the Back Side CXXV. Martial. Epigram XLVII, Book X CXXVI. A Speech Out of Lucan

Horace, of the Art of Poetry

Appendix 1: Timber: or Discoveries Appendix 2: Conversations with William Drummond

Notes Index of First Lines Index of Titles

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