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Ben Jonson (1573-1637)

Ben Jonson was born in London, the son of a clergyman who died before Jonson's birth, and was educated at Westminster School.

After working as a bricklayer for his stepfather and serving as a soldier, he became an actor and playwright. In 1599 he was imprisoned along with other actors for his part in a scurrilous play, Isle of Dogs, and later again for killing an actor in a duel.

His volatile nature is reflected in his poetry and plays, which are a combination of satirical humour and scholarly classicism. He became a court poet and masque writer to James I in collaboration with Inigo Jones and is best remembered for his comedy plays Volpene, The Alchemist, and Bartholemew Fair. He was appointed City Chronologer in 1628, holding the post until his death in 1637.

A Farewell to the World
Hymn to Diana
To Celia
Simplex Munditiis
The Shadow
  The Triumph
An Elegy
The Noble Balm
Epitaph (i) On Elizabeth L.H.
Epitaph (ii) On Salathiel Pavy


The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)
Ben Jonson, George Parfitt (Editor)

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