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.
The Complete Poems
Table of Dates
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
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?"
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
The dedication of her cradle
The song of her descent
The picture of the body
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
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")
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"
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"
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
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
Index of First Lines
Index of Titles