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Ben Jonson (Benjamin Jonson, c.

11 June 1572 6 August 1637) was a Jacobean playwright, poet, and literary critic, of the seventeenth century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. Ben Jonson is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Foxe (1605), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy (1614), and for his Lyric poetry; he is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare, during the reign of James I. [1] The literary artist Ben Jonson was a Classically educated, well-read, and cultured man of the English Renaissance (1485) with an appetite for controversy (personal and political, artistic and intellectual) whose cultural influence was of unparalleled breadth upon the playwrights and the poets of the Jacobean era (16031625) and of the Caroline era (16251642).[2][3]

Early life
The Westminster School instructor William Camden cultivated the artistic genius of Ben Jonson. The Scottish poet William Drummond of Hawthornden was friend and confidant to Jonson. Ben Jonson said that his family originated from the folk of the Anglo-Scottish border country, which genealogy is verified by the three spindles (rhombi) in the Jonson family coat of arms; the spindle is a diamond-shaped heraldic device shared with the Border-country Johnstone family of Annandale. His clergyman father died two months before Ben's birth; two years later, his mother remarried, to a master bricklayer.[4][5] Jonson attended school in St. Martin's Lane; and later, a family friend paid for his studies at Westminster School, where the antiquarian, historian, topographer, and officer of arms, William Camden (15511623) was one of his instructors. In the event, the pupil and the instructor became friends, and the intellectual influence of Camdens broad-range scholarship upon Jonsons art and literary style remained notable, until the artist's death in 1623. On leaving Westminster School, Jonson was to have attended the University of Cambridge, to continue his book learning; but did not, because of his unwilling apprenticeship to his bricklayer stepfather.[4][2] About that time in Jonsons life, the churchman and historian Thomas Fuller (160861) recorded the contemporary Jonsonian legend that the bricklayer Ben Jonson had built a garden wall in Lincoln's Inn. After having been an apprentice bricklayer, Ben Jonson went to the Netherlands, and volunteered to soldier with the English regiments of Francis Vere (1560 1609), in Flanders. The Hawthornden Manuscripts (1619), of the conversations between Ben Jonson and the poet William Drummond of Hawthornden (15851649), reported that, when in Flanders, the soldier Jonson had engaged, fought, and killed an enemy soldier in single combat, and took for trophies the weapons of the vanquished soldier.[6] Upon demobilisation from military service on the Continent, Jonson returned to England and worked as an actor and as a playwright. As an actor, Jonson was the protagonist Hieronimo (Geronimo) in the play The Spanish Tragedy (ca. 1586), by Thomas Kyd (155894), the first revenge tragedy in English literature. Moreover, by 1597, he was a working playwright employed by Philip Henslowe, the leading producer for the English public theatre; by the next year, the production of Every Man in His Humour (1598) had established Ben Jonsons reputation as a dramatist.[7][8]

Regarding his personal life, to William Drummond, Jonson described the woman he took to wife as a shrew, yet honest. Since the seventeenth century, the identity of Mrs Ben Jonson has been obscure, yet she sometimes is identified as Ann Lewis, the woman who married a Benjamin Jonson in 1594, at the church of St Magnus-the-Martyr, near London Bridge.[9] Concerning the family procreated by Anne Lewis and Ben Jonson, the St. Martin church registers indicate that Mary Jonson, their eldest daughter, died in November 1593, at six months of age. That a decade later, in 1603, Benjamin Jonson, their eldest son, died of Bubonic plague when he was seven years old; to lament and honour the dead boy, Benjamin Jonson pre wrote the elegiac On My First Sonne (1603). Moreover, thirty-two years later, a second son, also named Benjamin Jonson, died in 1635. In that period, Mr and Mrs Jonson lived separate lives for five years; their matrimonial arrangement cast Ann Lewis as the housewife Jonson, and Ben Jonson as the artist who enjoyed the residential hospitality of his patrons, Sir Robert Townshend and Lord Aubigny, Esme Stuart, 3rd Duke of Lennox.[9]

CareerBy summer 1597, Jonson had a fixed engagement in the Admiral's Men, then
performing under Philip Henslowe's management at The Rose. John Aubrey reports, on uncertain authority, that Jonson was not successful as an actor; whatever his skills as an actor, he was evidently more valuable to the company as a writer. By this time Jonson had begun to write original plays for the Admiral's Men; in 1598 he was mentioned by Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia as one of "the best for tragedy." None of his early tragedies survives, however. An undated comedy, The Case is Altered, may be his earliest surviving play. In 1597 a play which he co-wrote with Thomas Nashe, The Isle of Dogs, was suppressed after causing great offence. Arrest warrants for Jonson and Nashe were issued by Queen Elizabeth I's so-called interrogator, Richard Topcliffe. Jonson was jailed in Marshalsea Prison and charged with "Leude and mutynous behavior", while Nashe managed to escape to Great Yarmouth. Two of the actors, Gabriel Spenser and Robert Shaw, were also imprisoned. A year later, Jonson was again briefly imprisoned, this time in Newgate Prison, for killing Gabriel Spenser in a duel on 22 September 1598 in Hogsden Fields[6] (today part of Hoxton). Tried on a charge of manslaughter, Jonson pleaded guilty but was released by benefit of clergy, a legal ploy through which he gained leniency by reciting a brief bible verse (the neck-verse), forfeiting his 'goods and chattels' and being branded on his left thumb.[10] While in gaol Jonson converted to Catholicism, possibly through the influence of fellow-prisoner Father Thomas Wright, a Jesuit priest.[11] In 1598 Jonson produced his first great success, Every Man in His Humour, capitalising on the vogue for humorous plays which George Chapman had begun with An Humorous Day's Mirth. William Shakespeare was among the first actors to be cast. Jonson followed this in 1599 with Every Man out of His Humour, a pedantic attempt to imitate Aristophanes. It is not known whether this was a success on stage, but when published it proved popular and went through several editions. Jonson's other work for the theatre in the last years of Elizabeth I's reign was marked by fighting and controversy. Cynthia's Revels was produced by the Children of the Chapel Royal at Blackfriars Theatre in 1600. It satirised both John Marston, who Jonson believed had accused

him of lustfulness, possibly in Histrio-Mastix, and Thomas Dekker. Jonson attacked the two poets again in 1601's Poetaster. Dekker responded with Satiromastix, subtitled "the untrussing of the humorous poet". The final scene of this play, whilst certainly not to be taken at face value as a portrait of Jonson, offers a caricature that is recognisable from Drummond's report boasting about himself and condemning other poets, criticising performances of his plays, and calling attention to himself in any available way. This "War of the Theatres" appears to have ended with reconciliation on all sides. Jonson collaborated with Dekker on a pageant welcoming James I to England in 1603 although Drummond reports that Jonson called Dekker a rogue. Marston dedicated The Malcontent to Jonson and the two collaborated with Chapman on Eastward Ho, a 1605 play whose antiScottish sentiment briefly landed both authors in jail.

Royal patronageAt the beginning of the reign of James I, King of England, in 1603
Jonson joined other poets and playwrights in welcoming the new king. Jonson quickly adapted himself to the additional demand for masques and entertainments introduced with the new reign and fostered by both the king and his consort Anne of Denmark. In addition to his popularity on the public stage and in the royal hall, he enjoyed the patronage of aristocrats such as Elizabeth Sidney (daughter of Sir Philip Sidney) and Lady Mary Wroth. This connection with the Sidney family provided the impetus for one of Jonson's most famous lyrics, the country house poem To Penshurst. In February 1603 John Manningham reported that Jonson was living on Robert Townsend, son of Sir Roger Townshend, and "scorns the world."[12] Perhaps this explains why his trouble with English authorities continued. That same year he was questioned by the Privy Council about Sejanus, a politically themed play about corruption in the Roman Empire. He was again in trouble for topical allusions in a play, now lost, in which he took part. Shortly after his release from a brief spell of imprisonment imposed to mark the authorities' displeasure at the work, in the second week of October 1605, he was present at a supper party attended by most of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. After the plot's discovery he appears to have avoided further imprisonment; he volunteered what he knew of the affair to the investigator Robert Cecil and the Privy Council. Father Thomas Wright, who heard Fawkes's confession, was known to Jonson from prison in 1598 and Cecil may have directed him to bring the priest before the council, as a witness.[11] (Teague, 249).Title page of The Workes of Beniamin Ionson (1616), the first folio publication that included stage plays At the same time, Jonson pursued a more prestigious career, writing masques for James's court. The Satyr (1603) and The Masque of Blackness (1605) are two of about two dozen masques which Jonson wrote for James or for Queen Anne; The Masque of Blackness was praised by Algernon Charles Swinburne as the consummate example of this now-extinct genre, which mingled speech, dancing, and spectacle. On many of these projects he collaborated, not always peacefully, with designer Inigo Jones. For example, Jones designed the scenery for Jonson's masque Oberon, the Faery Prince performed at Whitehall on 1 January 1611 in which Prince Henry, eldest son of James I, appeared in the title role. Perhaps partly as a result of this new career, Jonson gave up writing plays for the public

theatres for a decade. He later told Drummond that he had made less than two hundred pounds on all his plays together. In 1616 Jonson received a yearly pension of 100 marks (about 60), leading some to identify him as England's first Poet Laureate. This sign of royal favour may have encouraged him to publish the first volume of the folio collected edition of his works that year. Other volumes followed in 164041 and 1692. (See: Ben Jonson folios) In 1618 Jonson set out for his ancestral Scotland on foot. He spent over a year there, and the best-remembered hospitality which he enjoyed was that of the Scottish poet, William Drummond of Hawthornden, in April 1619, sited on the River Esk. Drummond undertook to record as much of Jonson's conversation as he could in his diary, and thus recorded aspects of Jonson's personality that would otherwise have been less clearly seen. Jonson delivers his opinions, in Drummond's terse reporting, in an expansive and even magisterial mood. Drummond noted he was "a great lover and praiser of himself, a contemner and scorner of others". In Edinburgh, Jonson is recorded as staying with a John Stuart of Leith.[4] While there he was made an honorary citizen of Edinburgh. On returning to England, he was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Oxford University. From Edinburgh he travelled west and lodged with the Duke of Lennox where he wrote a play based on Loch Lomond.[4] The period between 1605 and 1620 may be viewed as Jonson's heyday. By 1616 he had produced all the plays on which his present reputation as a dramatist is based, including the tragedy Catiline (acted and printed 1611), which achieved limited success, and the comedies Volpone, (acted 1605 and printed in 1607), Epicoene, or the Silent Woman (1609), The Alchemist (1610), Bartholomew Fair (1614) and The Devil is an Ass (1616). The Alchemist and Volpone were immediately successful. Of Epicoene, Jonson told Drummond of a satirical verse which reported that the play's subtitle was appropriate, since its audience had refused to applaud the play (i.e., remained silent). Yet Epicoene, along with Bartholomew Fair and (to a lesser extent) The Devil is an Ass have in modern times achieved a certain degree of recognition. While his life during this period was apparently more settled than it had been in the 1590s, his financial security was still not assured.

ReligionJonson recounted that his father had been a prosperous Protestant landowner until
the reign of "Bloody Mary" and had suffered imprisonment and the forfeiture of his wealth during that monarch's attempt to restore England to Catholicism. On Elizabeth's accession he was freed and was able to travel to London to become a clergyman.[13][14] (All we know of Jonson's father, who died a month before his son was born, comes from the poet's own narrative.) Jonson's elementary education was in a small church school attached to St Martin-in-the-Fields parish, and at the age of about seven he secured a place at Westminster School, then part of Westminster Abbey. Notwithstanding this emphatically Protestant grounding, Jonson maintained an interest in Catholic doctrine throughout his adult life and, at a particularly perilous time while a religious

war with Spain was widely expected and persecution of Catholics was intensifying, he converted to the faith.[15][16] This took place in October 1598, while Jonson was on remand in Newgate gaol charged with manslaughter. Jonson's biographer Ian Donaldson is among those who suggest that the conversion was instigated by Father Thomas Wright, a Jesuit priest who had resigned from the order over his acceptance of Queen Elizabeth's right to rule in England.[17][18] Wright, although placed under house arrest on the orders of Lord Burghley, was permitted to minister to the inmates of London prisons.[17] It may have been that Jonson, fearing that his trial would go against him, was seeking the unequivocal absolution that Catholicism could offer if he were sentenced to death.[16] Alternatively, he could have been looking to personal advantage from accepting conversion since Father Wright's protector, the Earl of Essex, was among those who might hope to rise to influence after the succession of a new monarch.[19] Jonson's conversion came at a weighty time in affairs of state; the royal succession, from the childless Elizabeth, had not been settled and Essex's Catholic allies were hopeful that a sympathetic ruler might attain the throne. Conviction, and certainly not expedience alone, sustained Jonson's faith during the troublesome twelve years he remained a Catholic. His stance received attention beyond the low-level intolerance to which most followers of that faith were exposed. The first draft of his play Sejanus was banned for "popery", and did not re-appear until some offending passages were cut.[11] In January 1606 he (with Anne, his wife) appeared before the Consistory Court in London to answer a charge of recusancy, with Jonson alone additionally accused of allowing his fame as a Catholic to "seduce" citizens to the cause.[20] This was a serious matter (the Gunpowder Plot was still fresh in mind) but he explained that his failure to take communion was only because he had not found sound theological endorsement for the practice, and by paying a fine of thirteen shillings he escaped the more serious penalties at the authorities' disposal. His habit was to slip outside during the sacrament, a common routine at the timeindeed it was one followed by the royal consort, Queen Anne, herselfto show political loyalty while not offending the conscience.[21] Leading church figures, including John Overall, Dean of St Paul's, were tasked with winning Jonson back to orthodoxy, but these overtures were resisted.[22] In May 1610 King Henri IV of France, a Catholic monarch respected in England for tolerance towards Protestants, was assassinated, purportedly in the name of the Pope, and this seems to have been the immediate cause of Jonson's decision to rejoin the Church of England.[23][24] He did this in flamboyant style, pointedly drinking a full chalice of communion wine at the eucharist to demonstrate his renunciation of the Catholic rite, in which the priest alone drinks the wine.[25][26] The exact date of the ceremony is unknown.[24] However his interest in Catholic belief and practice remained with him until his death.[27]

Decline and death

Jonson began to decline in the 1620s. He was still well-known; from this time dates the prominence of the Sons of Ben or the "Tribe of Ben", those younger poets such as Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, and Sir John Suckling who took their bearing in verse from Jonson. However, a series of setbacks drained his strength and damaged his reputation. He resumed writing regular plays in the 1620s, but these are not considered among his best. They are of significant interest, however, for their portrayal of Charles I's England. The Staple of News, for

example, offers a remarkable look at the earliest stage of English journalism. The lukewarm reception given that play was, however, nothing compared to the dismal failure of The New Inn; the cold reception given this play prompted Jonson to write a poem condemning his audience (the Ode to Myself), which in turn prompted Thomas Carew, one of the "Tribe of Ben," to respond in a poem that asks Jonson to recognise his own decline.[28] The principal factor in Jonson's partial eclipse was, however, the death of James and the accession of King Charles I in 1625. Jonson felt neglected by the new court. A decisive quarrel with Jones harmed his career as a writer of court masques, although he continued to entertain the court on an irregular basis. For his part, Charles displayed a certain degree of care for the great poet of his father's day: he increased Jonson's annual pension to 100 and included a tierce of wine. Despite the strokes that he suffered in the 1620s, Jonson continued to write. At his death in 1637 he seems to have been working on another play, The Sad Shepherd. Though only two acts are extant, this represents a remarkable new direction for Jonson: a move into pastoral drama. During the early 1630s he also conducted a correspondence with James Howell, who warned him about disfavour at court in the wake of his dispute with Jones. Jonson died on 6 August 1637 and his funeral was held on 9 August. He is buried in the north aisle of the nave in Westminster Abbey, with the inscription "O Rare Ben Johnson" (sic) set in the slab over his grave.[29] John Aubrey, in a more meticulous record than usual, notes that a passer-by, John Young of Great Milton, Oxfordshire, saw the bare grave marker and on impulse paid a workman eighteen pence to make the inscription. Another theory suggests that the tribute came from William DAvenant, Jonsons successor as Poet Laureate (and card-playing companion of Young), as the same phrase appears on D'Avenant's nearby gravestone, but essayist Leigh Hunt contends that Davenant's wording represented no more than Young's coinage, cheaply re-used.[29][30] The fact that Jonson was buried in an upright position was an indication of his reduced circumstances at the time of his death,[31] although it has also been written that he asked for a grave exactly 18 inches square from the monarch and received an upright grave to fit in the requested space.[32][33] It has been claimed that the inscription could be read "Orare Ben Jonson" (pray for Ben Jonson), possibly in an allusion to Jonson's acceptance of Catholic doctrine during his lifetime (although he had returned to the Church of England in about 1610, when anti-Catholic laws once again become more strictly enforced) but the carving shows a distinct space between "O" and "rare".[11][34][35]

His work
DramaApart from two tragedies, Sejanus and Catiline, that largely failed to impress
Renaissance audiences, Jonson's work for the public theatres was in comedy. These plays vary in some respects. The minor early plays, particularly those written for boy players, present somewhat looser plots and less-developed characters than those written later, for adult companies. Already in the plays which were his salvos in the Poet's War, he displays the keen eye for absurdity and hypocrisy that marks his best-known plays; in these early efforts, however,

plot mostly takes second place to variety of incident and comic set-pieces. They are, also, notably ill-tempered. Thomas Davies called Poetaster "a contemptible mixture of the seriocomic, where the names of Augustus Caesar, Maecenas, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Tibullus, are all sacrificed upon the altar of private resentment." Another early comedy in a different vein, The Case is Altered, is markedly similar to Shakespeare's romantic comedies in its foreign setting, emphasis on genial wit, and love-plot. Henslowe's diary indicates that Jonson had a hand in numerous other plays, including many in genres such as English history with which he is not otherwise associated. The comedies of his middle career, from Eastward Ho to The Devil is an Ass are for the most part city comedy, with a London setting, themes of trickery and money, and a distinct moral ambiguity, despite Jonson's professed aim in the Prologue to Volpone to "mix profit with your pleasure". His late plays or "dotages", particularly The Magnetic Lady and The Sad Shepherd, exhibit signs of an accommodation with the romantic tendencies of Elizabethan comedy. Within this general progression, however, Jonson's comic style remained constant and easily recognisable. He announces his programme in the prologue to the folio version of Every Man in His Humour: he promises to represent "deeds, and language, such as men do use." He planned to write comedies that revived the classical premises of Elizabethan dramatic theoryor rather, since all but the loosest English comedies could claim some descent from Plautus and Terence, he intended to apply those premises with rigour.[36] This commitment entailed negations: after The Case is Altered, Jonson eschewed distant locations, noble characters, romantic plots, and other staples of Elizabethan comedy, focussing instead on the satiric and realistic inheritance of new comedy. He set his plays in contemporary settings, peopled them with recognisable types, and set them to actions that, if not strictly realistic, involved everyday motives such as greed and jealousy. In accordance with the temper of his age, he was often so broad in his characterisation that many of his most famous scenes border on the farcical (as William Congreve, for example, judged Epicoene.) He was more diligent in adhering to the classical unities than many of his peersalthough as Margaret Cavendish noted, the unity of action in the major comedies was rather compromised by Jonson's abundance of incident. To this classical model Jonson applied the two features of his style which save his classical imitations from mere pedantry: the vividness with which he depicted the lives of his characters, and the intricacy of his plots. Coleridge, for instance, claimed that The Alchemist had one of the three most perfect plots in literature.

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 to those trained in classics in the humanist manner. Jonson largely avoided the debates about rhyme and meter that had consumed Elizabethan classicists such as Thomas Campion and Gabriel Harvey. Accepting both rhyme and stress, Jonson used them to mimic the classical qualities of simplicity, restraint, and precision. Epigrams (published in the 1616 folio) is an entry in a genre that was popular among lateElizabethan and Jacobean audiences, although Jonson was perhaps the only poet of his time to

work in its full classical range. The epigrams explore various attitudes, most from the satiric stock of the day: complaints against women, courtiers, and spies abound. The condemnatory poems are short and anonymous; Jonsons epigrams of praise, including a famous poem to Camden and lines to Lucy Harington, are longer and are mostly addressed to specific individuals. Although it is included among the epigrams, "On My First Sonne" is neither satirical nor very short; the poem, intensely personal and deeply felt, typifies a genre that would come to be called "lyric poetry." It is possible that the spelling of 'son' as 'Sonne' is meant to allude to the sonnet form, with which it shares some features. A few other so-called epigrams share this quality. Jonson's poems of The Forest also appeared in the first folio. Most of the fifteen poems are addressed to Jonsons aristocratic supporters, but the most famous are his country-house poem To Penshurst and the poem To Celia (Come, my Celia, let us prove) that appears also in Volpone. Underwood, published in the expanded folio of 1640, is a larger and more heterogeneous group of poems. It contains A Celebration of Charis, Jonsons most extended effort at love poetry; various religious pieces; encomiastic poems including the poem to Shakespeare and a sonnet on Mary Wroth; the Execration against Vulcan and others. The 1640 volume also contains three elegies which have often been ascribed to Donne (one of them appeared in Donnes posthumous collected poems).

Relationship with Shakespeare

There are many legends about Jonson's rivalry with Shakespeare, some of which may be true. Drummond reports that during their conversation, Jonson scoffed at two apparent absurdities in Shakespeare's plays: a nonsensical line in Julius Caesar, and the setting of The Winter's Tale on the non-existent seacoast of Bohemia. Drummond also reported Jonson as saying that Shakespeare "wanted art" (i.e., lacked skill). Whether Drummond is viewed as accurate or not, the comments fit well with Jonson's well-known theories about literature. In "De Shakespeare Nostrat" in Timber, which was published posthumously and reflects his lifetime of practical experience, Jonson offers a fuller and more conciliatory comment. He recalls being told by certain actors that Shakespeare never blotted (i.e., crossed out) a line when he wrote. His own response, "Would he had blotted a thousand," was taken as malicious. However, Jonson explains, "He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature, had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped".[37] Jonson concludes that "there was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned." Also when Shakespeare died, he said, "He was not of an age, but for all time." Thomas Fuller relates stories of Jonson and Shakespeare engaging in debates in the Mermaid Tavern; Fuller imagines conversations in which Shakespeare would run rings around the more learned but more ponderous Jonson. That the two men knew each other personally is beyond doubt, not only because of the tone of Jonson's references to him but because Shakespeare's company produced a number of Jonson's plays, at least one of which (Every Man in His Humour) Shakespeare certainly acted in. However, it is now impossible to tell how much personal communication they had, and tales of their friendship cannot be substantiated.

Jonson's most influential and revealing commentary on Shakespeare is the second of the two poems that he contributed to the prefatory verse that opens Shakespeare's First Folio. This poem, "To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and What He Hath Left Us", did a good deal to create the traditional view of Shakespeare as a poet who, despite "small Latine, and lesse Greeke",[38] had a natural genius. The poem has traditionally been thought to exemplify the contrast which Jonson perceived between himself, the disciplined and erudite classicist, scornful of ignorance and sceptical of the masses, and Shakespeare, represented in the poem as a kind of natural wonder whose genius was not subject to any rules except those of the audiences for which he wrote. But the poem itself qualifies this view: Yet must I not give Nature all: Thy Art, My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part. Some view this elegy as a conventional exercise, but others see it as a heartfelt tribute to the "Sweet Swan of Avon", the "Soul of the Age!" It has been argued that Jonson helped to edit the First Folio, and he may have been inspired to write this poem by reading his fellow playwright's works, a number of which had been previously either unpublished or available in less satisfactory versions, in a relatively complete form.

Reception and influence

During most of the 17th century Jonson was a towering literary figure, and his influence was enormous for he has been described as 'One of the most vigorous minds that ever added to the strength of English literature'.[39] Before the English Civil War, the "Tribe of Ben" touted his importance, and during the Restoration Jonson's satirical comedies and his theory and practice of "humour characters" (which are often misunderstood; see William Congreve's letters for clarification) was extremely influential, providing the blueprint for many Restoration comedies. In the 18th century Jonson's status began to decline. In the Romantic era, Jonson suffered the fate of being unfairly compared and contrasted to Shakespeare, as the taste for Jonson's type of satirical comedy decreased. Jonson was at times greatly appreciated by the Romantics, but overall he was denigrated for not writing in a Shakespearean vein. In the 20th century, Jonson's status rose significantly. In 2012, after more than two decades of research, Cambridge University Press published the first new edition for Jonson's complete works for 60 years.[40]

As G. E. Bentley notes in Shakespeare and Jonson: Their Reputations in the Seventeenth Century Compared, Jonson's reputation was in some respects equal to Shakespeare's in the 17th century. After the English theatres were reopened on the Restoration of Charles II, Jonson's work, along with Shakespeare's and Fletcher's, formed the initial core of the Restoration repertory. It was not until after 1710 that Shakespeare's plays (ordinarily in heavily revised forms) were more frequently performed than those of his Renaissance contemporaries. Many critics since the 18th century have ranked Jonson below only Shakespeare among English Renaissance dramatists. Critical judgment has tended to emphasise the very qualities that Jonson

himself lauds in his prefaces, in Timber, and in his scattered prefaces and dedications: the realism and propriety of his language, the bite of his satire, and the care with which he plotted his comedies. For some critics, the temptation to contrast Jonson (representing art or craft) with Shakespeare (representing nature, or untutored genius) has seemed natural; Jonson himself may be said to initiate this interpretation in the second folio, and Samuel Butler drew the same comparison in his commonplace book later in the century. At the Restoration, this sensed difference became a kind of critical dogma. Charles de Saintvremond placed Jonson's comedies above all else in English drama, and Charles Gildon called Jonson the father of English comedy. John Dryden offered a more common assessment in the Essay of Dramatic Poesie, in which his Avatar Neander compares Shakespeare to Homer and Jonson to Virgil: the former represented profound creativity, the latter polished artifice. But "artifice" was in the 17th century almost synonymous with "art"; Jonson, for instance, used "artificer" as a synonym for "artist" (Discoveries, 33). For Lewis Theobald, too, Jonson ow[ed] all his Excellence to his Art, in contrast to Shakespeare, the natural genius. Nicholas Rowe, to whom may be traced the legend that Jonson owed the production of Every Man in his Humour to Shakespeare's intercession, likewise attributed Jonson's excellence to learning, which did not raise him quite to the level of genius. A consensus formed: Jonson was the first English poet to understand classical precepts with any accuracy, and he was the first to apply those precepts successfully to contemporary life. But there were also more negative spins on Jonson's learned art; for instance, in the 1750s, Edward Young casually remarked on the way in which Jonsons learning worked, like Samsons strength, to his own detriment. Earlier, Aphra Behn, writing in defence of female playwrights, had pointed to Jonson as a writer whose learning did not make him popular; unsurprisingly, she compares him unfavorably to Shakespeare. Particularly in the tragedies, with their lengthy speeches abstracted from Sallust and Cicero, Augustan critics saw a writer whose learning had swamped his aesthetic judgment. In this period, Alexander Pope is exceptional in that he noted the tendency to exaggeration in these competing critical portraits: "It is ever the nature of Parties to be in extremes; and nothing is so probable, as that because Ben Johnson had much the most learning, it was said on the one hand that Shakespear had none at all; and because Shakespear had much the most wit and fancy, it was retorted on the other, that Johnson wanted both."[41] For the most part, the 18th century consensus remained committed to the division that Pope doubted; as late as the 1750s, Sarah Fielding could put a brief recapitulation of this analysis in the mouth of a "man of sense" encountered by David Simple. Though his stature declined during the 18th century, Jonson was still read and commented on throughout the century, generally in the kind of comparative and dismissive terms just described. Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg translated parts of Peter Whalley's edition into German in 1765. Shortly before the Romantic revolution, Edward Capell offered an almost unqualified rejection of Jonson as a dramatic poet, who (he writes) "has very poor pretensions to the high place he holds among the English Bards, as there is no original manner to distinguish him, and the tedious sameness visible in his plots indicates a defect of Genius."[42] The disastrous failures of productions of Volpone and Epicoene in the early 1770s no doubt bolstered a widespread

sense that Jonson had at last grown too antiquated for the contemporary public; if he still attracted enthusiasts such as Earl Camden and William Gifford, he all but disappeared from the stage in the last quarter of the century. The romantic revolution in criticism brought about an overall decline in the critical estimation of Jonson. Hazlitt refers dismissively to Jonsons laborious caution. Coleridge, while more respectful, describes Jonson as psychologically superficial: He was a very accurately observing man; but he cared only to observe what was open to, and likely to impress, the senses. Coleridge placed Jonson second only to Shakespeare; other romantic critics were less approving. The early 19th century was the great age for recovering Renaissance drama. Jonson, whose reputation had survived, appears to have been less interesting to some readers than writers such as Thomas Middleton or John Heywood, who were in some senses discoveries of the 19th century. Moreover, the emphasis which the romantic writers placed on imagination, and their concomitant tendency to distrust studied art, lowered Jonson's status, if it also sharpened their awareness of the difference traditionally noted between Jonson and Shakespeare. This trend was by no means universal, however; William Gifford, Jonson's first editor of the 19th century, did a great deal to defend Jonson's reputation during this period of general decline. In the next era, Swinburne, who was more interested in Jonson than most Victorians, wrote, The flowers of his growing have every quality but one which belongs to the rarest and finest among flowers: they have colour, form, variety, fertility, vigour: the one thing they want is fragrance by fragrance, Swinburne means spontaneity. In the 20th century, Jonsons body of work has been subject to a more varied set of analyses, broadly consistent with the interests and programmes of modern literary criticism. In an essay printed in The Sacred Wood, T. S. Eliot attempted to repudiate the charge that Jonson was an arid classicist by analysing the role of imagination in his dialogue. Eliot was appreciative of Jonson's overall conception and his "surface", a view consonant with the modernist reaction against Romantic criticism, which tended to denigrate playwrights who did not concentrate on representations of psychological depth. Around mid-century, a number of critics and scholars followed Eliots lead, producing detailed studies of Jonsons verbal style. At the same time, study of Elizabethan themes and conventions, such as those by E. E. Stoll and M. C. Bradbrook, provided a more vivid sense of how Jonsons work was shaped by the expectations of his time. The proliferation of new critical perspectives after mid-century touched on Jonson inconsistently. Jonas Barish was the leading figure among critics who appreciated Jonson's artistry. On the other hand, Jonson received less attention from the new critics than did some other playwrights and his work was not of programmatic interest to psychoanalytic critics. But Jonsons career eventually made him a focal point for the revived sociopolitical criticism. Jonsons works, particularly his masques and pageants, offer significant information regarding the relations of literary production and political power, as do his contacts with and poems for aristocratic patrons; moreover, his career at the centre of Londons emerging literary world has been seen as exemplifying the development of a fully commodified literary culture. In this respect he is seen as a transitional figure, an author whose skills and ambition led him to a leading role both in the declining culture of patronage and in the rising culture of mass consumption.


Jonson has been called 'the first poet laureate'.[43] If Jonson's reputation as a playwright has traditionally been linked to Shakespeare, his reputation as a poet has, since the early 20th century, been linked to that of John Donne. In this comparison, Jonson represents the cavalier strain of poetry, emphasising grace and clarity of expression; Donne, by contrast, epitomised the metaphysical school of poetry, with its reliance on strained, baroque metaphors and often vague phrasing. Since the critics who made this comparison (Herbert Grierson for example), were to varying extents rediscovering Donne, this comparison often worked to the detriment of Jonson's reputation. In his time Jonson was at least as influential as Donne. In 1623, historian Edmund Bolton named him the best and most polished English poet. That this judgment was widely shared is indicated by the admitted influence he had on younger poets. The grounds for describing Jonson as the "father" of cavalier poets are clear: many of the cavalier poets described themselves as his "sons" or his "tribe". For some of this tribe, the connection was as much social as poetic; Herrick described meetings at "the Sun, the Dog, the Triple Tunne". All of them, including those like Herrick whose accomplishments in verse are generally regarded as superior to Jonson's, took inspiration from Jonson's revival of classical forms and themes, his subtle melodies, and his disciplined use of wit. In these respects Jonson may be regarded as among the most important figures in the prehistory of English neoclassicism. The best of Jonson's lyrics have remained current since his time; periodically, they experience a brief vogue, as after the publication of Peter Whalley's edition of 1756. Jonson's poetry continues to interest scholars for the light which it sheds on English literary history, such as politics, systems of patronage, and intellectual attitudes. For the general reader, Jonson's reputation rests on a few lyrics that, though brief, are surpassed for grace and precision by very few Renaissance poems: "On My First Sonne"; "To Celia"; "To Penshurst"; and the epitaph on boy player Solomon Pavy.

Jonson's works

A Tale of a Tub, comedy (c. 1596 revised? performed 1633; printed 1640) The Isle of Dogs, comedy (1597, with Thomas Nashe; lost) The Case is Altered, comedy (c. 159798; printed 1609), with Henry Porter and Anthony Munday? Every Man in His Humour, comedy (performed 1598; printed 1601) Every Man out of His Humour, comedy ( performed 1599; printed 1600) Cynthia's Revels (performed 1600; printed 1601) The Poetaster, comedy (performed 1601; printed 1602) Sejanus His Fall, tragedy (performed 1603; printed 1605) Eastward Ho, comedy (performed and printed 1605), a collaboration with John Marston and George Chapman Volpone, comedy (c. 160506; printed 1607) Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, comedy (performed 1609; printed 1616) The Alchemist, comedy (performed 1610; printed 1612)

Catiline His Conspiracy, tragedy (performed and printed 1611) Bartholomew Fair, comedy (performed 31 October 1614; printed 1631) The Devil is an Ass, comedy (performed 1616; printed 1631) The Staple of News, comedy (performed Feb. 1626; printed 1631) The New Inn, or The Light Heart, comedy (licensed 19 January 1629; printed 1631) The Magnetic Lady, or Humors Reconciled, comedy (licensed 12 October 1632; printed 1641) The Sad Shepherd, pastoral (c. 1637, printed 1641), unfinished Mortimer his Fall, history (printed 1641), a fragment


The Coronation Triumph, or The King's Entertainment (performed 15 March 1604; printed 1604); with Thomas Dekker A Private Entertainment of the King and Queen on May-Day (The Penates) (1 May 1604; printed 1616) The Entertainment of the Queen and Prince Henry at Althorp (The Satyr) (25 June 1603; printed 1604) The Masque of Blackness (6 January 1605; printed 1608) Hymenaei (5 January 1606; printed 1606) The Entertainment of the Kings of Great Britain and Denmark (The Hours) (24 July 1606; printed 1616) The Masque of Beauty (10 January 1608; printed 1608) The Masque of Queens (2 February 1609; printed 1609) The Hue and Cry After Cupid, or The Masque at Lord Haddington's Marriage (9 February 1608; printed c. 1608) The Entertainment at Britain's Burse (11 April 1609; lost, rediscovered 2004) The Speeches at Prince Henry's Barriers, or The Lady of the Lake (6 January 1610; printed 1616) Oberon, the Faery Prince (1 January 1611; printed 1616) Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly (3 February 1611; printed 1616) Love Restored (6 January 1612; printed 1616) A Challenge at Tilt, at a Marriage (27 December 1613/1 January 1614; printed 1616) The Irish Masque at Court (29 December 1613; printed 1616) Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists (6 January 1615; printed 1616) The Golden Age Restored (1 January 1616; printed 1616) Christmas, His Masque (Christmas 1616; printed 1641) The Vision of Delight (6 January 1617; printed 1641) Lovers Made Men, or The Masque of Lethe, or The Masque at Lord Hay's (22 February 1617; printed 1617) Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (6 January 1618; printed 1641) The masque was a failure; Jonson revised it by placing the anti-masque first, turning it into: For the Honour of Wales (17 February 1618; printed 1641) News from the New World Discovered in the Moon (7 January 1620: printed 1641) The Entertainment at Blackfriars, or The Newcastle Entertainment (May 1620?; MS) Pan's Anniversary, or The Shepherd's Holy-Day (19 June 1620?; printed 1641)

The Gypsies Metamorphosed (3 and 5 August 1621; printed 1640) The Masque of Augurs (6 January 1622; printed 1622) Time Vindicated to Himself and to His Honours (19 January 1623; printed 1623) Neptune's Triumph for the Return of Albion (26 January 1624; printed 1624) The Masque of Owls at Kenilworth (19 August 1624; printed 1641) The Fortunate Isles and Their Union (9 January 1625; printed 1625) Love's Triumph Through Callipolis (9 January 1631; printed 1631) Chloridia: Rites to Chloris and Her Nymphs (22 February 1631; printed 1631) The King's Entertainment at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire (21 May 1633; printed 1641) Love's Welcome at Bolsover ( 30 July 1634; printed 1641)

Other works

Epigrams (1612) The Forest (1616), including To Penshurst On My First Sonne (1616), elegy A Discourse of Love (1618) Barclay's Argenis, translated by Jonson (1623) The Execration against Vulcan (1640) Horace's Art of Poetry, translated by Jonson (1640), with a commendatory verse by Edward Herbert Underwood (1640) English Grammar (1640) Timber, or Discoveries made upon men and matter, as they have flowed out of his daily readings, or had their reflux to his peculiar notion of the times, a commonplace book To Celia (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), poem

It is in Jonson's Timber, or Discoveries... that he famously quipped on the manner in which language became a measure of the speaker or writer:

Language most shows a man: Speak, that I may see thee. It springs out of the most retired and inmost parts of us, and is the image of the parent of it, the mind. No glass renders a mans form or likeness so true as his speech. Nay, it is likened to a man; and as we consider feature and composition in a man, so words in language; in the greatness, aptness, sound structure, and harmony of it. Ben Jonson, 1640 (posthumous)[44]

As with other English Renaissance dramatists, a portion of Ben Jonson's literary output has not survived. In addition to The Isle of Dogs (1597), the records suggest these lost plays as wholly or partially Jonson's work: Richard Crookback (1602); Hot Anger Soon Cold (1598), with Porter and Henry Chettle; Page of Plymouth (1599), with Dekker; and Robert II, King of Scots (1599), with Chettle and Dekker. Several of Jonson's masques and entertainments also are not extant: The Entertainment at Merchant Taylors (1607); The Entertainment at Salisbury House for James I (1608); and The May Lord (161319).

Finally, there are questionable or borderline attributions. Jonson may have had a hand in Rollo, Duke of Normandy, or The Bloody Brother, a play in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. The comedy The Widow was printed in 1652 as the work of Thomas Middleton, Fletcher and Jonson, though scholars have been intensely sceptical about Jonson's presence in the play. A few attributions of anonymous plays, such as The London Prodigal, have been ventured by individual researchers, but have met with cool responses.[45]
Ben Jonson was born around June 11, 1572, the posthumous son of a clergyman. He was educated at Westminster School by the great classical scholar William Camden and worked in his stepfather's trade, bricklaying. The trade did not please him in the least, and he joined the army, serving in Flanders. He returned to England about 1592 and married Anne Lewis on November 14, 1594. Jonson joined the theatrical company of Philip Henslowe in London as an actor and playwright on or before 1597, when he is identified in the papers of Henslowe. In 1597 he was imprisoned in the Fleet Prison for his involvement in a satire entitled The Isle of Dogs, declared seditious by the authorities. The following year Jonson killed a fellow actor, Gabriel Spencer, in a duel in the Fields at Shoreditch and was tried at Old Bailey for murder. He escaped the gallows only by pleading benefit of clergy. During his subsequent imprisonment he converted to Roman Catholicism only to convert back to Anglicism over a decade later, in 1610. He was released forfeit of all his possessions, and with a felon's brand on his thumb. Jonson's second known play, Every Man in His Humour, was performed in 1598 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the Globe with William Shakespeare in the cast. Jonson became a celebrity, and there was a brief fashion for 'humours' comedy, a kind of topical comedy involving eccentric characters, each of whom represented a temperament, or humor, of humanity. His next play, Every Man Out of His Humour (1599), was less successful. Every Man Out of His Humour and Cynthia's Revels (1600) were satirical comedies displaying Jonson's classical learning and his interest in formal experiment. Jonson's explosive temperament and conviction of his superior talent gave rise to "War of the Theatres". In The Poetaster (1601), he satirized other writers, chiefly the English dramatists Thomas Dekker and John Marston. Dekker and Marston retaliated by attacking Jonson in their Satiromastix (1601). The plot of Satiromastix was mainly overshadowed by its abuse of Jonson. Jonson had portrayed himself as Horace in The Poetaster, and in Satiromastix Marston and Dekker, as Demetrius and Crispinus ridicule Horace, presenting Jonson as a vain fool. Eventually, the writers patched their feuding; in 1604 Jonson collaborated with Dekker on The King's Entertainment and with Marston and George Chapman on Eastward Ho. Jonson's next play, the classical tragedy Sejanus, His Fall (1603), based on Roman history and offering an astute view of dictatorship, again got Jonson into trouble with the authorities. Jonson was called before the Privy Council on charges of 'popery and treason'. Jonson did not, however, learn a lesson, and was again briefly imprisoned, with Marston and Chapman, for controversial views ("something against the Scots") espoused in Eastward Ho (1604). These two incidents jeopardized his emerging role as court poet to King James I. Having converted to Catholicism, Jonson was also the object of deep suspicion after the Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes (1605). In 1605, Jonson began to write masques for the entertainment of the court. The earliest of his masques, The Satyr was given at Althorpe, and Jonson seems to have been appointed Court Poet shortly after. The masques displayed his erudition, wit, and versatility and contained some of his best lyric poetry. Masque of Blacknesse (1605) was the first in a series of collaborations with Inigo Jones, noted English architect and set designer. This collaboration produced masques such as The Masque of Owles, Masque of Beauty

(1608), and Masque of Queens (1609), which were performed in Inigo Jones' elaborate and exotic settings. These masques ascertained Jonson's standing as foremost writer of masques in the Jacobean era. The collaboration with Jones was finally destroyed by intense personal rivalry. Jonson's enduring reputation rests on the comedies written between 1605 and 1614. The first of these, Volpone, or The Fox (performed in 1605-1606, first published in 1607) is often regarded as his masterpiece. The play, though set in Venice, directs its scrutiny on the rising merchant classes of Jacobean London. The following plays, Epicoene: or, The Silent Woman (1609), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614) are all peopled with dupes and those who deceive them. Jonson's keen sense of his own stature as author is represented by the unprecedented publication of his Works, in folio, in 1616. He was appointed as poet laureate and rewarded a substantial pension in the same year. In 1618, when he was about forty-five years old, Jonson set out for Scotland, the home of his ancestors. He made the journey entirely by foot, in spite of dissuasion from Bacon, who "said to him he loved not to see poesy go on other feet than poetical dactyls and spondus." Jonson's prose style is vividly sketched in the notes of William Drummond of Hawthornden, who recorded their conversations during Jonson's visit to Scotland 1618-1619. Jonson himself was sketched by Hawthornden: " He is a great lover and praiser of himself ; a contemner and scorner of others ; given rather to lose a friend than a jest ; . . . he is passionately kind and angry ; careless either to gain or keep ; vindictive, but, if he be well answered, at himself . . . ; oppressed with fantasy, which hath ever mastered his reason."1 After his return, Jonson received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Oxford University and lectured on rhetoric at Gresham College, London. The comedy The Devil is an Ass (1616) had turned out to be a comparative flop. This may have discouraged Jonson, for it was nine years before his next play, The Staple of News (1625), was produced. Instead, Jonson turned his attention to writing masques. Jonson's later plays The New Inn (1629) and A Tale of a Tub (1633) were not great successes, described harshly, but perhaps justly by Dryden as his "dotages." Despite these apparent failures, and in spite of his frequent feuds, Jonson was the dean and the leading wit of the group of writers who gathered at the Mermaid Tavern in the Cheapside district of London. The young poets influenced by Jonson were the self-styled 'sons' or 'tribe' of Ben, later called the Cavalier poets, a group which included, among others, Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Sir John Suckling, and Richard Lovelace. Jonson was appointed City Chronologer of London in 1628, the same year in which he suffered a severe stroke. His loyal friends kept him company in his final years and attended the King provided him some financial comfort. Jonson died on August 6, 1637 and was buried in Westminster Abbey under a plain slab on which was later carved the words, "O Rare Ben Jonson!" His admirers and friends contributed to the collection of memorial elegies, Jonsonus virbius, published in 1638. Jonson's last play, Sad Shepherd's Tale, was left unfinished at his death and published posthumously in 1641.

Life. About nine years after the birth of Shakespeare his greatest successor in the English drama was born in London. Jonson outlived Shakespeare twenty-one years and helped to usher in the decline of the drama. Ben Jonson, the son of a clergyman and the stepson of a master bricklayer, received a good education at Westminster School. In one respect Jonson's training was unfortunate for a poet. He was taught to write prose exercises first and then to turn them into poetry. In this way he acquired the habit of trying to express unpoetical ideas in verse. Art could change the prose into metrical rhyming lines, but art could not breathe into them the living soul

of poetry. In after times Jonson said that Shakespeare lacked art, but Jonson recognized that the author of Hamlet had the magic touch of nature. Jonson's pen rarely felt her all-embracing touch. If Jonson served an apprenticeship as a bricklayer, as his enemies afterward said, he did not continue long at such work. He crossed the Channel and enlisted for a brief time as a soldier in the Netherlands. He soon returned to London and became a writer for the theater, and thenceforth lived the life of an author and a student. He loved to study and translate the classics. In fact, what a novice might think original in Jonson's plays was often borrowed from the classics. Of his relations to the classical writers, Dryden says, "You track him everywhere in their snow." Jonson was known as the most learned poet of the age, because, if his plays demanded any special knowledge, no subject was too hard, dry, or remote from common life for him to attempt to master it. He knew the boundaries of Bohemia, and he took pleasure in saying to a friend: "Shakespeare in a play brought in a number of men saying they had suffered shipwreck in Bohemia, where is no sea near, by some hundred miles." Jonson's personal characteristics partly explain why he placed himself in opposition to the spirit of the age. He was extremely combative. It was almost a necessity for him to quarrel with some person or with some opinion. He killed two men in duels, and he would probably have been hanged, if he had not pleaded benefit of clergy. For the greater part of his life, he was often occupied with pen and ink quarrels. When James I ascended the throne in 1603, Jonson soon became a royal favorite. He was often employed to write masques, a peculiar species of drama which called for magnificent scenery and dress, and gave the nobility the opportunity of acting the part of some distinguished or supernatural character. Such work brought Jonson into intimate association with the leading men of the day. It is pleasant to think that he was a friend of Shakespeare. Jonson's pithy volume of prose, known as Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter, contains his famous criticism on Shakespeare, noteworthy because it shows how a great contemporary regarded him, "I loved the man and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any." Few English writers have received from a great rival author such convincing testimony in regard to lovable personality. In 1616, the year in which Shakespeare died, Jonson was made poet laureate. When he died in 1637, he was buried in an upright position in Westminster Abbey. A plain stone with the unique inscription, "O Rare Ben Jonson," marks his grave. Plays. Ben Jonson's comedies are his best dramatic work. From all his plays we may select three that will best repay reading: Volpone, The Alchemist, and The Silent Woman. Volpone is the story of an old, childless, Venetian nobleman whose ruling passion is avarice. Everything else in the play is made tributary to this passion. The first three lines in the first act strike the keynote of the entire play. Volpone says:

"Good morning to the day; and next, my gold! Open the shrine, that I may see my saint. Hail the world's soul and mine! "

The Alchemist makes a strong presentation of certain forms of credulity in human nature and of the special tricks which the alchemists and impostors of that day adopted. One character wants to buy the secret of the helpful influence of the stars; another parts with his wealth to learn the alchemist's secret of turning everything into gold and jewels. The way in which these characters are deceived is very amusing. A study of this play adds to our knowledge of a certain phase of the times. In point of artistic construction of plot, The Alchemist is nowhere excelled in the English drama; but the intrusion of Jonson's learning often makes the play tedious reading, as when he introduces the technical terms of the so-called science of alchemy to show that he has studied it thoroughly. One character speaks to the alchemist of"Your lato, azoch, zernich, chibrit, heautarit," and another asks: "Can you sublime and dulcify? calcine? Know you the sapor pontic? sapor stiptic, Or what is homogene, or heterogene?" Lines like the following show that Jonson's acute mind had grasped something of the principle of evolution: "... 'twere absurd To think that nature in the earth bred gold Perfect in the instant: something went before. There must be remote matter." The Silent Woman is in lighter vein than either of the plays just mentioned. The leading character is called Morose, and his special whim or "humor" is a horror of noise. His home is on a street "so narrow at both ends that it will receive no coaches nor carts, nor any of these common noises." He has mattresses on the stairs, and he dismisses the footman for wearing squeaking shoes. For a long time Morose does not marry, fearing the noise of a wife's tongue. Finally he commissions his nephew to find him a silent woman for a wife, and the author uses to good advantage the opportunity for comic situations which this turn in the action affords. Dryden preferred The Silent Woman to any of the other plays. Besides the plays mentioned in this section, Jonson wrote during his long life many other comedies and masques as well as some tragedies. Marks of Decline. A study of the decline of the drama, as shown in Jonson's plays, will give us a better appreciation of the genius of Shakespeare. We may change Jonson's line so that it will state one reason for his not maintaining Shakespearean excellence: "He was not for all time, but of an age." His first play, Every Man in his Humor, paints, not the universal emotions of men, but some special humor. He thus defines the sense in which he uses humor: "As when some one peculiar quality Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw All his affects, his spirits and his powers,

In their connections, all to run one way, This may be truly said to be a Humor." Unlike Shakespeare, Jonson gives a distorted or incomplete picture of life. In Volpone everything is subsidiary to the humor of avarice, which receives unnatural emphasis. In The Alchemist there is little to relieve the picture of credibility and hypocrisy, while The Silent Woman has for its leading character a man whose principal "humor" or aim in life is to avoid noise. No drama which fails to paint the nobler side of womanhood can be called complete. In Jonson's plays we do not find a single woman worthy to come near the Shakespearean characters, Cordelia, Imogen, and Desdemona. His limitations are nowhere more marked than in his inability to portray a noble woman. Another reason why he fails to present life completely is shown in these lines, in which he defines his mission: "My strict hand Was made to seize on vice, and with a gripe Squeeze out the humor of such spongy souls As lick up every idle vanity." Since the world needs building up rather than tearing down, a remedy for an ailment rather than fault-finding, the greatest of men cannot be mere satirists. Shakespeare displays some fellow feeling for the object of his satire, but Jonson's satire is cold and devoid of sympathy. Jonson deliberately took his stand in opposition to the romantic spirit of the age. Marlowe and Shakespeare had disregarded the classical unities and had developed the drama on romantic lines. Jonson resolved to follow classical traditions and to adhere to unity of time and place in the construction of his plots. The action in the play of The Silent Woman, for instance, occupies only twelve hours. General Characteristics. Jonson's plays show the touch of a conscientious artist with great intellectual ability. His vast erudition is constantly apparent. He is the satiric historian of his time, and he exhibits the follies and the humors of the age under a powerful lens. He is also the author of dainty lyrics (p. 137), and forcible prose criticism. Among the shortcomings of his plays, we may specially note lack of feeling and of universality. He fails to comprehend the nature of woman. He is not a sympathetic observer of manifold life, but presents only what is perceived through the frosted glass of intellect. His art is selfconscious. He defiantly opposed the romantic spirit of the age and weakened the drama by making it bear the burden of the classical unities. Born: 1572 London, England Died: August 6, 1637

London, England English writer, playwright, and poet Ben Jonson was an English playwright and poet best known for his satiric comedies (types of comedies that poke fun at human weaknesses). In many peoples opinion he was, next to William Shakespeare (15641616), the greatest dramatic genius of the English Renaissance (roughly the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries).

Early career
Ben Jonson was probably born in or near London, England, about a month after the death of his father, a clergyman (someone who works for the church). His father gained his position when King Henry VIII (14911547) ruled England, but lost it after Queen Mary (15161558) took the throne. Jonson's mother then married a bricklayer. This may be why he did not continue his schooling. His stepfather made him work in the more practical business of bricklaying. Jonson also spent some time as a soldier and a traveling actor. He married sometime between 1592 and 1595. Many people thought that English literature, and particularly drama, had already reached as high as it could when Ben Jonson began his career. But Jonson helped it gain even higher goals. Jonson's special gift was his strong sense of artistic form and control. Although an accomplished scholar, he could also write in the way everyday people spoke. It was because of this skill that he was liked by both people who were well read and by people who did not have an advanced education.

Major works
Jonson's first major play was Every Man in His Humour. It was performed by a theater group called the Lord Chamberlain's Men. William Shakespeare performed the lead role. This play is a model of what is called the "comedy of humors," in which each character's action is ruled by a whim (impulse) or affectation (artificial behavior meant to impress others). After this play Jonson wrote Every Man out of His Humour in 1599 or early 1600, followed closely by Cynthia's Revels (1601) and Poetaster (1601). Jonson gained fame when he wrote Volpone, or the Fox in 1606. It was loved not only by the people in London but also by the scholars at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. This was a major success for Jonson. After Volpone, Jonson wrote Epicoene, or the Silent Woman (1609), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614).

Later years

After Bartholomew Fair, Jonson did not write very well. However, many young poets and playwrights considered him a hero and called themselves "sons of Ben" or the "tribe of Ben." He was always considered an impressive and respected figure. Much of the information about Jonson's personal life comes to us after this last period of playwriting. He spent a lot of time with the Scottish poet William Drummond of Hawthornden (15851649) in 1618. Drummond wrote down all the conversations he had with Jonson. Drummond said that Jonson was "a great lover and praiser of himself, a contemner [despiser] and scorner of others, given rather to lose a friend than a jest." In other words, Jonson made many jokes about other people and considered himself superior to others. Jonson also wrote many other nondramatic writings, including a grammar of English, a miscellaneous (made of many different parts) collection of notes, and reflections on various authors entitled Timber, or Discoveries (also printed in 1640). He also wrote a large number of poems, almost all of them written in response to particular events in the poet's experience. Most of his poetry was written in short lyric (songlike) forms, which he handled with great skill. Jonson's poetic style also tends to be simple and unadorned yet highly polished, as in the epigram (a short witty poem) on the death of his first daughter, which begins "Here lies to each her parents ruth [sorrow],/Mary, the daughter of their youth." After the death of King James I of England (16031625) in 1625, Jonson suffered a number of setbacks. His talents were not fully appreciated by the new king, and as a result Jonson was frequently short of money. He was paralyzed in 1628 due to illness and confined for the remainder of his life to his home in Westminster. He continued his scholarly study of the classics, which had occupied him throughout his active life. Jonson died on August 6, 1637. Because he was considered one of the most accomplished writers of the time, he was given the special honor of being buried in Westminster Abbey, in England.

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish[1] satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.[2] He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language,[dubious discuss] and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under

pseudonyms such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, MB Drapier or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift (16401667) and his wife Abigail Erick (or Herrick), of Frisby on the Wreake.[3] His father, a native of Goodrich, Herefordshire, accompanied his brothers to Ireland to seek their fortunes in law after their Royalist father's estate was brought to ruin during the English Civil War. Swift's father died in Dublin before he was born, and his mother returned to England. He was left in the care of his influential uncle, Godwin, a close friend and confidant of Sir John Temple, whose son later employed Swift as his secretary.[4] Swift's family had several interesting literary connections: His grandmother, Elizabeth (Dryden) Swift, was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of the poet John Dryden. The same grandmother's aunt, Katherine (Throckmorton) Dryden, was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. His great-great grandmother, Margaret (Godwin) Swift, was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. His uncle, Thomas Swift, married a daughter of the poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. His uncle Godwin Swift (16281695) a benefactor, took primary responsibility for the young Jonathan, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College (also attended by the philosopher George Berkeley).[4] In 1682, financed by Godwin's son, Willoughby, he attended Dublin University (Trinity College, Dublin), from where he received his B.A. in 1686, and developed his friendship with William Congreve. Swift was studying for his Master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham.[5] Temple was an English diplomat who, having arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668, retired from public service to his country estate to tend his gardens and write his memoirs. Gaining the confidence of his employer, Swift "was often trusted with matters of great importance." [6] Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III, and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments. When Swift took up his residence at Moor Park, he met Esther Johnson, then eight years old, the daughter of an impoverished widow who acted as companion to Temple's sister, Lady Giffard. Swift acted as her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella", and the two maintained a close but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life.[7] In 1690, Swift left Temple for Ireland because of his health, but returned to Moor Park the following year. The illness, fits of vertigo or giddiness now known to be Mnire's disease would continue to plague Swift throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.A. from Hart Hall, Oxford in 1692. Then, apparently despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, Swift left Moor Park to become an ordained priest in

the Established Church of Ireland and in 1694 he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, Swift may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring, whom he called "Varina", the sister of an old college friend.[6] A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused. She presumably refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, and he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employed in helping to prepare Temple's memoirs and correspondence for publication. During this time Swift wrote The Battle of the Books, a satire responding to critics of Temple's Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning(1690), although Battle was not published until 1704. On 27 January 1699 Temple died.[6] Swift, normally a harsh judge of human nature, said that all that was good and amiable in humankind died with him.[6] He stayed on briefly in England to complete the editing of Temple's memoirs, and perhaps in the hope that recognition of his work might earn him a suitable position in England. However, Swift's work made enemies of some of Temple's family and friends, in particular Temple's formidable sister, Lady Giffard, who objected to indiscretions included in the memoirs.[7] Swift's next move was to approach King William directly, based on his imagined connection through Temple and a belief that he had been promised a position. This failed so miserably that he accepted the lesser post of secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justice of Ireland. However, when he reached Ireland he found that the secretaryship had already been given to another. However, he soon obtained the living of Laracor, Agher, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.[8] At Laracor, a mile or two from Trim, County Meath, and twenty miles (32 km) from Dublin, Swift ministered to a congregation of about fifteen, and had abundant leisure for cultivating his garden, making a canal (after the Dutch fashion of Moor Park), planting willows, and rebuilding the vicarage. As chaplain to Lord Berkeley, he spent much of his time in Dublin and traveled to London frequently over the next ten years. In 1701, Swift published, anonymously, a political pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. That spring he traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnsonnow 20and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple's household. There is a great mystery and controversy over Swift's relationship with Esther Johnson nicknamed "Stella". Many, notably his close friend Thomas Sheridan believed that they were secretly married in 1716; others, like Swift's housekeeper Mrs Brent, and Rebecca Dingley (who lived with Stella all through her years in Ireland) dismissed the story as absurd.[9] During his visits to England in these years, Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships

with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club (founded in 1713). Swift became increasingly active politically in these years.[10] From 1707 to 1709 and again in 1710, Swift was in London, unsuccessfully urging upon the Whig administration of Lord Godolphin the claims of the Irish clergy to the First-Fruits and Twentieths ("Queen Anne's Bounty"), which brought in about 2,500 a year, already granted to their brethren in England. He found the opposition Tory leadership more sympathetic to his cause and Swift was recruited to support their cause as editor of The Examiner when they came to power in 1710. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet "The Conduct of the Allies," attacking the Whig government for its inability to end the prolonged war with France. The incoming Tory government conducted secret (and illegal) negotiations with France, resulting in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ending the War of the Spanish Succession. Swift was part of the inner circle of the Tory government,[11] and often acted as mediator between Henry St John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710 15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (17111714). Swift recorded his experiences and thoughts during this difficult time in a long series of letters to Esther Johnson, collected and published after his death as A Journal to Stella. The animosity between the two Tory leaders eventually led to the dismissal of Harley in 1714. With the death of Queen Anne and accession of George I that year, the Whigs returned to power and the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France. Also during these years in London, Swift became acquainted with the Vanhomrigh family (Dutch merchants who had settled in Ireland, then moved to London) and became involved with one of the daughters, Esther, yet another fatherless young woman and another ambiguous relationship to confuse Swift's biographers. Swift furnished Esther with the nickname "Vanessa" and she features as one of the main characters in his poem Cadenus and Vanessa. The poem and their correspondence suggests that Esther was infatuated with Swift, and that he may have reciprocated her affections, only to regret this and then try to break off the relationship.[12] Esther followed Swift to Ireland in 1714, and settled at her old family home, Celbridge Abbey. Their uneasy relationship continued for some years; then there appears to have been a confrontation, possibly involving Esther Johnson. Esther Vanhomrigh died in 1723 at the age of 35, having destroyed the will she had made in Swift's favour.[13] Another lady with whom he had a close but less intense relationship was Anne Long, a toast of the Kit-Cat Club.

Bust in St Patrick's Cathedral. Before the fall of the Tory government, Swift hoped that his services would be rewarded with a church appointment in England. However, Queen Anne appeared to have taken a dislike to Swift and thwarted these efforts. Her dislike has been attributed to The Tale of a Tub, which she thought blasphemous, compounded by The Windsor Prophecy, where Swift, with a surprising lack of tact, advised the Queen on which of her bedchamber ladies she should and which she should not trust.[14] The best position his friends could secure for him was the Deanery of St

Patrick's: this was not in the Queen's gift and Anne, who could be a bitter enemy, made it clear that Swift would not have received the preferment if she could have prevented it.[15] With the return of the Whigs, Swift's best move was to leave England and he returned to Ireland in disappointment, a virtual exile, to live "like a rat in a hole".[16] Once in Ireland, however, Swift began to turn his pamphleteering skills in support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier's Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot.[17] This new role was unwelcome to the Government, which made clumsy attempts to silence him. His printer, Edward Waters, was convicted of seditious libel in 1720, but four years later a grand jury refused to find that the Drapier Letters (which, though written under a pseudonym, were universally known to be Swift's work) were seditious.[18] Swift responded with an attack on the Irish judiciary almost unparalleled in its ferocity, his principal target being the "vile and profligate villain" William Whitshed, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.[19] Also during these years, he began writing his masterpiece, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver's Travels. Much of the material reflects his political experiences of the preceding decade. For instance, the episode in which the giant Gulliver puts out the Lilliputian palace fire by urinating on it can be seen as a metaphor for the Tories' illegal peace treaty; having done a good thing in an unfortunate manner. In 1726 he paid a long-deferred visit to London,[20] taking with him the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels. During his visit he stayed with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of his book. First published in November 1726, it was an immediate hit, with a total of three printings that year and another in early 1727. French, German, and Dutch translations appeared in 1727, and pirated copies were printed in Ireland. Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 and stayed with Alexander Pope once again. The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying, and rushed back home to be with her.[20] On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died; Swift had prayed at her bedside, even composing prayers for her comfort. Swift could not bear to be present at the end, but on the night of her death he began to write his The Death of Mrs Johnson. He was too ill to attend the funeral at St Patrick's.[20] Many years later, a lock of hair, assumed to be Esther Johnson's, was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, "Only a woman's hair.

Swift's death mask Death became a frequent feature of Swift's life from this point. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, his own obituary published in 1739. In 1732, his good friend and collaborator John Gay died. In 1735, John Arbuthnot, another friend from his days in London, died. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he may have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak and realizing his worst fears of becoming mentally disabled. ("I shall be like that tree," he once said, "I shall die at the top.") [21] He became increasingly quarrelsome, and longstanding friendships, like that with Thomas Sheridan, ended without sufficient cause. To protect him from unscrupulous hangers on, who had begun to prey on the great man, his closest

companions had him declared of "unsound mind and memory". However, it was long believed by many that Swift was actually insane at this point. In his book Literature and Western Man, author J. B. Priestley even cites the final chapters of Gulliver's Travels as proof of Swift's approaching "insanity". In part VIII of his series, The Story of Civilization, Will Durant describes the final years of Swift's life as such: "Definite symptoms of madness appeared in 1738. In 1741 guardians were appointed to take care of his affairs and watch lest in his outbursts of violence he should do himself harm. In 1742 he suffered great pain from the inflammation of his left eye, which swelled to the size of an egg; five attendants had to restrain him from tearing out his eye. He went a whole year without uttering a word."[22] In 1744, Alexander Pope died. On October 19, 1745, Swift also died.[23] After being laid out in public view for the people of Dublin to pay their last respects, he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson's side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (12,000) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St Patricks Hospital for Imbeciles, which opened in 1757, and which still exists as a psychiatric hospital.[23]

Epitaph in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin near his burial site. Text extracted from the introduction to The Journal to Stella by George A. Aitken and from other sources) Jonathan Swift wrote his own epitaph: Hic depositum est Corpus IONATHAN SWIFT S.T.D. Hujus Ecclesi Cathedralis Decani, Ubi sva Indignatio Ulterius Cor lacerare nequit, Abi Viator Et imitare, si poteris, Strenuum pro virili Libertatis Vindicatorem. Obiit 19 Die Mensis Octobris A.D. 1745 Anno tatis 78. Here is laid the Body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce Indignation can no longer injure the Heart. Go forth, Voyager, and copy, if you can, this vigorous (to the best of his ability) Champion of Liberty. He died on the 19th Day of the Month of October, A.D. 1745, in the 78th Year of his Age.

W. B. Yeats poetically translated it from the Latin as: Swift has sailed into his rest;

Savage indignation there Cannot lacerate his breast. Imitate him if you dare, World-besotted traveller; he Served human liberty.

Wi swift was a prolific writer, notable for his satires. The most recent collection of his prose works (Herbert Davis, ed. Basil Blackwell, 1965) comprises fourteen volumes. A recent edition of his complete poetry (Pat Rodges, ed. Penguin, 1983) is 953 pages long. One edition of his correspondence (David Woolley, ed. P. Lang, 1999) fills three volumes.

Major prose works

Jonathan Swift at the Deanery of St Patrick's, illus. from 1905 Temple Scott edition of Work The title page to Swift's 1735 Works, depicting the author in the Dean's chair, receiving the thanks of Ireland. The Horatian motto reads, Exegi Monumentum re perennius, "I have completed a monument more lasting than brass." The 'brass' is a pun, for Wood's half-pence (alloyed with brass) is scattered at his feet. Cherubim award Swift a poet's laurel. Swift's first major prose work, A Tale of a Tub, demonstrates many of the themes and stylistic techniques he would employ in his later work. It is at once wildly playful and funny while being pointed and harshly critical of its targets. In its main thread, the Tale recounts the exploits of three sons, representing the main threads of Christianity, who receive a bequest from their father of a coat each, with the added instructions to make no alterations whatsoever. However, the sons soon find that their coats have fallen out of current fashion, and begin to look for loopholes in their father's will that will let them make the needed alterations. As each finds his own means of getting around their father's admonition, they struggle with each other for power and dominance. Inserted into this story, in alternating chapters, the narrator includes a series of whimsical "digressions" on various subjects. In 1690, Sir William Temple, Swift's patron, published An Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning a defense of classical writing (see Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) holding up the Epistles of Phalaris as an example. William Wotton responded to Temple with Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694) showing that the Epistles were a later forgery. A response by the supporters of the Ancients was then made by Charles Boyle (later the 4th Earl of Orrery and father of Swift's first biographer). A further retort on the Modern side came from Richard Bentley, one of the pre-eminent scholars of the day, in his essay Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris (1699). However, the final words on the topic belong to Swift in his Battle of the Books (1697, published 1704) in which he makes a humorous defense on behalf of Temple and the cause of the Ancients.

In 1708, a cobbler named John Partridge published a popular almanac of astrological predictions. Because Partridge falsely determined the deaths of several church officials, Swift attacked Partridge in Predictions For The Ensuing Year by Isaac Bickerstaff, a parody predicting that Partridge would die on March 29. Swift followed up with a pamphlet issued on March 30 claiming that Partridge had in fact died, which was widely believed despite Partridge's statements to the contrary. According to other sources,[citation needed] Richard Steele uses the personae of Isaac Bickerstaff and was the one who wrote about the "death" of John Partridge and published it in The Spectator, not Jonathan Swift.* Drapier's Letters (1724) was a series of pamphlets against the monopoly granted by the English government to William Wood to provide the Irish with copper coinage. It was widely believed that Wood would need to flood Ireland with debased coinage in order make a profit. In these "letters" Swift posed as a shop-keepera draperin order to criticize the plan. Swift's writing was so effective in undermining opinion in the project that a reward was offered by the government to anyone disclosing the true identity of the author. Though hardly a secret (on returning to Dublin after one of his trips to England, Swift was greeted with a banner, "Welcome Home, Drapier") no-one turned Swift in, although there was an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute the publisher Harding.[24] The government eventually resorted to hiring none other than Sir Isaac Newton to certify the soundness of Wood's coinage to counter Swift's accusations. In "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (1739) Swift recalled this as one of his best achievements. Gulliver's Travels, a large portion of which Swift wrote at Woodbrook House in County Laois, was published in 1726. It is regarded as his masterpiece. As with his other writings, the Travels was published under a pseudonym, the fictional Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon and later a sea captain. Some of the correspondence between printer Benj. Motte and Gulliver's also-fictional cousin negotiating the book's publication has survived. Though it has often been mistakenly thought of and published in bowdlerized form as a children's book, it is a great and sophisticated satire of human nature based on Swift's experience of his times. Gulliver's Travels is an anatomy of human nature, a sardonic looking-glass, often criticized for its apparent misanthropy. It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four booksrecounting four voyages to mostly-fictional exotic landshas a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Critics hail the work as a satiric reflection on the shortcomings of Enlightenment thought. In 1729, Swift published A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, a satire in which the narrator, with intentionally grotesque arguments, recommends that Ireland's poor escape their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich: "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food..." Following the satirical form, he introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them: Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients...taxing our absentees...using [nothing] except what is of our own growth and manufacture...rejecting...foreign luxury...introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance...learning to love our country...quitting our animosities and factions...teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their

tenants....Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

Essays, tracts, pamphlets, periodicals

Swift as depicted on the Irish 10 banknote, issued 19761993

"A Meditation upon a Broomstick" (17031710): Full text: "A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind" (17071711) The Bickerstaff-Partridge Papers (17081709): Full text: U of Adelaide "An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity" (17081711): Full text: U of Adelaide The Intelligencer (with Thomas Sheridan) (17191788): Text: Project Gutenberg The Examiner (1710): Texts:, Project Gutenberg "A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue" (1712): Full texts: Jack Lynch, U of Virginia "On the Conduct of the Allies" (1713) "Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation" (1713): Full text: "A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately Entered into Holy Orders" (1720) "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet" (1721): Full text: Drapier's Letters (1724, 1725): Full text: Project Gutenberg "Bon Mots de Stella" (1726): a curiously irrelevant appendix to "Gulliver's Travels" "A Modest Proposal", perhaps the most notable satire in English, suggesting that the Irish should engage in cannibalism. (Written in 1729) "An Essay on the Fates of Clergymen": Full text: JaffeBros "A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding": Full text:

An 1850 illustration of Swift

"Ode to the Athenian Society", Swift's first publication, printed in The Athenian Mercury in the supplement of Feb 14, 1691. Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D. Texts at Project Gutenberg: Volume One, Volume Two "Baucis and Philemon" (17061709): Full text: Munseys "A Description of the Morning" (1709): Full annotated text: U of Toronto; Another text: U of Virginia "A Description of a City Shower" (1710): Full text: U of Virginia "Cadenus and Vanessa" (1713): Full text: Munseys "Phillis, or, the Progress of Love" (1719): Full text: Stella's birthday poems: o 1719. Full annotated text: U of Toronto o 1720. Full text: U of Virginia o 1727. Full text: U of Toronto "The Progress of Beauty" (17191720): Full text: "The Progress of Poetry" (1720): Full text:

"A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General" (1722): Full text: U of Toronto "To Quilca, a Country House not in Good Repair" (1725): Full text: U of Toronto "Advice to the Grub Street Verse-writers" (1726): Full text: U of Toronto "The Furniture of a Woman's Mind" (1727) "On a Very Old Glass" (1728): Full text: "A Pastoral Dialogue" (1729): Full text: "The Grand Question debated Whether Hamilton's Bawn should be turned into a Barrack or a Malt House" (1729): Full text: "On Stephen Duck, the Thresher and Favourite Poet" (1730): Full text: U of Toronto "Death and Daphne" (1730): Full text: "The Place of the Damn'd" (1731): Full text "A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed" (1731): Full annotated text: Jack Lynch; Another text: U of Virginia "Strephon and Chloe" (1731): Full annotated text: Jack Lynch; Another text: U of Virginia "Helter Skelter" (1731): Full text: "Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy" (1731): Full annotated text: Jack Lynch "The Day of Judgment" (1731): Full text "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D." (17311732): Full annotated texts: Jack Lynch, U of Toronto; Non-annotated text:: U of Virginia "An Epistle To A Lady" (1732): Full text: "The Beasts' Confession to the Priest" (1732): Full annotated text: U of Toronto "The Lady's Dressing Room" (1732): Full annotated text: Jack Lynch "On Poetry: A Rhapsody" (1733) "The Puppet Show" Full text: "The Logicians Refuted" Full text:

Correspondence, personal writings

"When I Come to Be Old" Swift's resolutions. (1699): Full text: JaffeBros A Journal to Stella (17101713): Full text (presented as daily entries): The Journal to Stella; Extracts:; Letters: o Selected Letters: JaffeBros o To Oxford and Pope: The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D. Edited by David Woolley. In four volumes, plus index volume. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c.1999-c.2007.

Sermons, prayers

Three Sermons and Three Prayers. Full text: U of Adelaide, Project Gutenberg Three Sermons: I. on mutual subjection. II. on conscience. III. on the trinity. Text: Project Gutenberg Writings on Religion and the Church. Text at Project Gutenberg: Volume One, Volume Two

"The First He Wrote Oct. 17, 1727." Full text: "The Second Prayer Was Written Nov. 6, 1727." Full text:


Directions to Servants (1731):: Extracts: A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation (1738) "Thoughts on Various Subjects." Full text: U of Adelaide Historical Writings: Project Gutenberg Swift Quotations: JaffeBros many choice, well-documented Swift quotations here Swift quotes at Bartleby: 59 quotations, with notes

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him.[25] George Orwell named him as one of the writers he most admired, despite disagreeing with him on almost every moral and political issue.[26] Swift crater, a crater on Mars's moon Deimos, is named after Jonathan Swift, who predicted the existence of the moons of Mars.[27]

William Congreve (24 January 1670 19 January 1729) was an English playwright and poet.

Early life
Congreve was born in Bardsey, West Yorkshire, England (near Leeds).[note 1] His parents were William Congreve (16371708) and his wife, Mary (ne Browning; 1636?1715); a sister was buried in London in 1672. He spent his childhood in Ireland, where his father, a Cavalier, had settled during the reign of Charles II. Congreve was educated at Trinity College in Dublin; there he met Jonathan Swift, who would be his friend for the remainder of his life. Upon graduation, he matriculated in the Middle Temple in London to study law, but felt himself pulled toward literature, drama, and the fashionable life. Artistically, he became a disciple of John Dryden.

Literary career
William Congreve wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies, including Love for Love (premiered 30 April 1695) and The Way of the World (premiered 1700), and one tragedy, The Mourning Bride (1697)

Unfortunately, his career ended almost as soon as it began. After writing five plays from his first in 1693 until 1700, he produced no more as public tastes turned against the sort of high-brow sexual comedy of manners in which he specialized. He reportedly was particularly stung by a critique written by Jeremy Collier (A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage), to the point that he wrote a long reply, "Amendments of Mr. Collier's False and Imperfect Citations." A member of the Whig Kit-Kat Club, Congreve's career shifted to the political sector, where he held various minor political positions despite his stance as a Whig among Tories.

Later life
Congreve withdrew from the theatre and lived the rest of his life on residuals from his early work. His output from 1700 was restricted to the occasional poem and some translation (notably Molire's Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). Congreve never married; in his own era and through subsequent generations, he was famous for his friendships with prominent actresses and noblewomen, including Anne Bracegirdle, for whom he wrote major parts in all his plays, and Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough, daughter of the famous general, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, whom he had probably met by 1703 and who had a daughter, Mary (17231764), believed to be his. As early as 1710, he suffered both from gout and from cataracts on his eyes. Congreve suffered a carriage accident in late September 1728, from which he never recovered (having probably received an internal injury); he died in London in January 1729, and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
WILLIAM CONGREVE, English dramatist, the greatest English master of pure comedy, was born at Bardsey near Leeds, where he was baptized on the 10th of February 1670, although the inscription on his monument gives his date of birth as 1672. He was the son of William Congreve, a soldier who was soon after his son's birth placed in command of the garrison at Youghal. To Ireland, therefore, is due the credit of his education as a schoolboy at Kilkenny, as an undergraduate at Dublin, where he was a contemporary and friend of Swift. From college he came to London, and was entered as a student of law at the Middle Temple. The first-fruits of his studies appeared under the boyish pseudonym of "Cleophil," in the form of a novel whose existence is now remembered only through the unabashed avowal of so austere a moralist as Dr Johnson, that he "would rather praise it than read it." In 1693 Congreve's real career began, and early enough by the latest computation, with the brilliant appearance and instant success of his first comedy, The Old Bachelor, under the generous auspices of Dryden, then as ever a living and immortal witness to the falsehood of the vulgar charge which taxes the greater among poets with jealousy or envy, the natural badge and brand of the smallest that would claim a place among their kind. The discrowned laureate had never, he said, seen such a first play; and indeed the graceless grace of the dialogue was as yet only to be matched by the last and best work of Etherege, standing as till then it had done alone among the barefaced brutalities of Wycherley and Shadwell. The types of Congreve's first work were the common conventional properties of stage tradition; but the fine and clear-cut style in which these types were reproduced was his own. The gift of one place and the reversion of another were the solid fruits of his splendid success. Next year a better play from the same hand met with worse fortune on the stage, and with yet higher honour from the first living poet of his nation. The noble verses, as faultless in the expression as reckless in the extravagance of their applause, prefixed by Dryden to The Double Dealer, must naturally have supported the younger poet, if indeed such support can have been required, against the momentary

annoyance of assailants whose passing clamour left uninjured and secure the fame of his second comedy; for the following year witnessed the crowning triumph of his art and life, in the appearance of Love for Love (1695). Two years later his ambition rather than his genius adventured on the foreign ground of tragedy, and The Mourning Bride (1697) began such a long career of good fortune as in earlier or later times would have been closed against a far better work. Next year he attempted, without his usual success, a reply to the attack of Jeremy Collier, the nonjuror, "on the immorality and profaneness of the English stage" an attack for once not discreditable to the assailant, whose honesty and courage were evident enough to approve him incapable alike of the ignominious precaution which might have suppressed his own name, and of the dastardly mendacity which would have stolen the mask of a stranger's. Against this merit must be set the mistake of confounding in one indiscriminate indictment the levities of a writer like Congreve with the brutalities of a writer like Wycherley an error which ever since has more or less perverted the judgment of succeeding critics. The general case of comedy was then, however, as untenable by the argument as indefensible by the sarcasm of its most brilliant and comparatively blameless champion. Art itself, more than anything else, had been outraged and degraded by the recent school of the Restoration; and the comic work of Congreve, though different rather in kind than in degree from the bestial and blatant licence of his immediate precursors, was inevitably for a time involved in the sentence passed upon the comic work of men in all ways alike his inferiors. The true and triumphant answer to all possible attacks of honest men or liars, brave men or cowards, was then as ever to be given by the production of work unarraignable alike by fair means or foul, by frank impeachment or furtive imputation. In 1700 Congreve thus replied to Collier with The Way of the World the unequalled and unapproached masterpiece of English comedy, which may fairly claim a place beside or but just beneath the mightiest work of Molire. On the stage which had recently acclaimed with uncritical applause the author's more questionable appearance in the field of tragedy, this final and flawless evidence of his incomparable powers met with a rejection then and ever since inexplicable on any ground of conjecture. During the twenty-eight years which remained to him, Congreve produced little beyond a volume of fugitive verses, published ten years after the miscarriage of his masterpiece. His even course of good fortune under Whig and Tory governments alike was counterweighed by the physical infirmities of gout and failing sight. He died, January 19, 1729, in consequence of an injury received on a journey to Bath by the upsetting of his carriage; was buried in Westminster Abbey, after lying in state in the Jerusalem Chamber; and bequeathed the bulk of his fortune to the chief friend of his last years, Henrietta, duchess of Marlborough, daughter of the great duke, rather than to his family, which, according to Johnson, was then in difficulties, or to Mrs Bracegirdle, the actress, with whom he had lived longer on intimate terms than with any other mistress or friend, but who inherited by his will only 200. The one memorable incident of his later life was the visit of Voltaire, whom he astonished and repelled by his rejection of proffered praise and the expression of his wish to be considered merely as any other gentleman of no literary fame. The great master of well-nigh every province in the empire of letters, except the only one in which his host reigned supreme, replied that in that sad case Congreve would not have received his visit. The fame of the greatest English comic dramatist is founded wholly or mainly on but three of his five plays. His first comedy was little more than a brilliant study after such models as were eclipsed by this earliest effort of their imitator; and tragedy under his hands appears rouged and wrinkled, in the patches and powder of Lady Wishfort. But his three great comedies are more than enough to sustain a reputation as durable as our language. Were it not for these we should have no samples to show of comedy in its purest and highest form. Ben Jonson, who alone attempted to introduce it by way of reform among the mixed work of a time when comedy and tragedy were as inextricably blended on the stage as in actual life, failed to give the requisite ease and the indispensable grace of comic life and movement to the action and passion of his elaborate and magnificent work. Of Congreve's immediate predecessors, whose aim had been to raise on French foundations a new English fabric of simple and unmixed comedy, Wycherley was of too base metal and Etherege was of metal too light to be weighed against him; and besides theirs no other or finer coin was current than the crude British ore of Shadwell's brutal and burly talent. Borrowing a metaphor from Landor, we may say that a limb of Molire would have sufficed to make a Congreve, a limb of Congreve would have sufficed to make a Sheridan. The broad and robust humour of Vanbrugh's admirable comedies gives him a place on the master's right hand; on the left stands Farquhar, whose bright light genius is to Congreve's as female is to male, or "as moonlight unto sunlight." No English writer, on the whole, has so nearly touched the skirts of Molire; but his splendid intelligence is wanting

in the deepest and subtlest quality which has won for Molire from the greatest poet of his country and our age the tribute of exact and final definition conveyed in that perfect phrase which salutes at once and denotes him "ce moqueur pensif comme un apotre." Only perhaps in a single part has Congreve half consciously touched a note of almost tragic depth and suggestion; there is something wellnigh akin to the grotesque and piteous figure of Arnolphe himself in the unvenerable old age of Lady Wishfort, set off and relieved as it is, with grace and art worthy of the supreme French master, against the only figure on any stage which need not shun comparison even with that of Celimene.

William Congreve (16701729), English poet and playwright of the Restoration period in the 17th and 18th centuries, his comic plays have enjoyed a distinguished place in history, including The Old Batchelor (1693), and Love for Love (1694). William Congreve was born in January of 1670 in Bardsey Grange, Yorkshire, England, the son of William Congreve (16371708) and his wife, Mary. By 1674 the Congreves were living in Ireland and there young William attended Kilkenny College then Trinity College, Dublin with fellow student and friend Jonathan Swift. After graduation he would become a disciple of John Dryden, poet, playwright and literary critic. The Congreves moved back to Staffordshire, England around 1689 during the exodus of Protestants from Ireland. Though never called to the bar in 1691 Congreve entered the Middle Temple to study law. It was while writing poetry and working on translations that Congreve made his first entrance into London's literary world, publishing under the pseudonym "Cleophil" Incognita (1692), "an Essay". His influences were many including Plato, Epictetus, Aesop, Cervantes, and Shakespeare. Whilst living in Staffordshire, then later in Iliam, Derbyshire, where the landscape he so admired is reflected in Sir Godfrey Kneller's 1709 Kit-Cat club portrait of him, Congreve started work on his comedy The Old Batchelor. The scripts' first reviewers were frustrated by the promising young dramatists inexperience of the theatre world and writing for the stage, though it was well-received in 1693, and had a long run at the Drury Lane theatre, acted by the best actors of the day. Anne Bracegirdle was among them for whom Congreve would write all his best roles including Angelica in Love for Love and Mrs. Millamant in The Way of the World (1700). With a royal command performance for Queen Mary of The Double Dealer, Congreve was disappointed with its poor reception. Love for Love (1694), (dedicated to the earl of Dorset) which is full of comic turns and satire, gained back some of Congreve's reputation. His first poetic tragedy The Mourning Bride (1697) contains the oft quoted lines of blank verse, now a proverb; "Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd." It was an instant success and would be revised a few times, with the famous actress Sarah Siddons as Zara in the 1780s. The Restoration comedy The Way of the World's complex scenes and witty verbiage opened to mixed reviews though his friend John Dryden reviewed it as deserving much better attention.

While Congreve held numerous government posts over the years including Customs Collector at Poole, Commissioner for wine licences, and Undersearcher of the London port, he also had time for the study of music and won a prize for the libretto he wrote for The Judgment of Paris. Drawing from Ovids Metamorphoses Congreve wrote the opera Semele, about a woman, in love with Jupiter, yearning to be immortal. "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast." (The Mourning Bride). Congreve's skill in lyricincluding sung lyric, pastoral, and verse epistle is demonstrated in his poem, written upon the death of Queen Mary in 1694, and of which he received 100 from the King, The Mourning Muse of Alexis and The Tears of Amaryllis for Amyntas which was written on the death of John, marquess of Blandford, in 1703. Congreve continued to collaborate with his friend Dryden, and The Works of Mr. William Congreve (1710) was published in three octavo volumes. Other friends who appreciated the genial Congreve's wit and unaffected generosity of spirit included Jonathan Swift, Frances Porter, Alexander Pope and Henrietta, Lady Godolphin, with whom he'd have an illegitimate daughter, Mary (17231764), who he provided for in his will. Congreve was a man who lived by his own words, "A Clear Wit, sound Judgement and a Merciful Disposition". Afflicted with poor eyesight for most of his life, his gout was also starting to take its toll on him incapacitating him more frequently. After an accident with his coach in 1728 where he may have suffered internal injuries, William Congreve died on 19 January 1729. He is interred in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, near the grave of Aphra Behn, with a medallion carved from a Kneller portrait and an epitaph by the duchess of Marlborough; "To whose most valuable memory this monument is set up by Henrietta, duchess of Marlborough as a mark how clearly she remembers the happiness and honour she enjoyed in the sincere friendship of so worth and honest a man. Whose virtue candour and wit gained him the love and esteem of the present age and whose writings will be the admiration of the future."

Jonathan Swift

Early Life and Works

Since his father, an Englishman who had settled in Ireland, died before his birth and his mother deserted him for some time, Swift was dependent upon an uncle for his education. He was sent first to Kilkenny School and then to Trinity College, Dublin, where he managed, in spite of his rebellious behavior, to obtain a degree. In 1689 he became secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Surrey, where he formed his lifelong attachment to Esther Johnson, the "Stella" of his famous journal. Disappointed of church preferment in England, Swift returned to Ireland, where he was ordained an Anglican priest and in 1695 was given the small prebend of Kilroot. Unable to make a success in Ireland, Swift returned to Moor Park the following year, remaining until Temple's death in 1699. During this period he wrote The Battle of the Books, in which he defended Temple's contention that the ancients were superior to the moderns in literature and learning, and A Tale of a Tub, a satire on religious excesses. These works were not published, however, until 1704. Again disappointment with his advancement sent him back to Ireland, where he was given the living of Laracor.

In the course of numerous visits to London he became friendly with Addison and Steele and active in Whig politics. His Whig sympathies were severed, however, when that party demonstrated its unfriendliness to the Anglican Church. In 1708 he began a series of pamphlets on ecclesiastical issues with his ironic Argument against Abolishing Christianity. He joined the Tories in 1710, edited the Tory Examiner for a year, and wrote various political pamphlets, notably The Conduct of the Allies (1711), Remarks on the Barrier Treaty (1712), and The Public Spirit of the Whigs (1714), in reply to Steele's Crisis.

Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) Short Biography

Birth Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin. His father died before he was born, and his nurse, who (according to Swifts later account) had become very fond of her young charge, took him at the age of one year old to Whitehaven in Cumberland, where he remained with her until the age of 3. Education On his return to Ireland his education was paid for by his uncle, Godwin, first at Kilkenny School (1673, 6) and then at Trinity College, Dublin (1682, 15). First employment After an undistinguished university career, he went to stay with his mother, Abigail Erick, in Leicester, and shortly afterwards, in 1689 (22), he became secretary to Sir William Temple, the diplomat and writer, at Moor Park in Surrey, during which time he had full access to Temples impressive library. Meets 'Stella' (Esther Johnson) While he worked at Moor Park he paid a yearly visit to his mother, a journey of some 80 miles which he made on foot, and it was at Moor Park that he first met and tutored Esther Johnson, the eight year old

daughter of Temples widowed sister's companion, who later appeared in his poetry as Stella, and became his lifelong companion. First major works It was also here that he began his first major work, A Tale of a Tub, and completed The Battle of the Books, a satire concerning whether ancient or modern authors were to be preferred, which was the continuation of a debate begun by Temple in his Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning of 1692. Both works were published anonymously in 1704 (37). Ireland He returned to Ireland in 1694 (27), and was ordained as a priest in 1695 (28). Second period with Temple In 1696 (29) he obtained a licence for non residence at his living in Kilroot, and rejoined Temple, beginning work on his patrons memoirs and correspondence. Second period in Ireland When Temple died in 1699 (32) Swift returned to Ireland once more, where, having resigned his living, he had hopes of becoming chaplain and secretary to the Earl of Berkeley, Lord Justice of Ireland, but lost the opportunity because of an intrigue. He subsequently held various posts in the Irish Church, and in 1702 (35) Stella, who had been left property in Ireland in Temples will, joined him in Dublin. In 1707 (40) he was sent to London as an emissary of the Irish clergy, seeking remission of tax on Irish clerical incomes, but his suit was rejected by the Whig government. Meets 'Vanessa' (Esther Vanhomrigh) At this time he met Esther Vanhomrigh, who was to become the 'Vanessa' of his poetry. Pamphleteering He produced the pamphlet Predictions for the Year 1708 by Isaac Bickerstaffe Esq, in which he satirised the output of almanac makers in the person of a certain Mr Partridge, whose death he predicted. On the appointed date he produced An Elegy on Mr Partridge, the Almanac-maker, who died on the 29th of this Instant March, 1708, and a report ostensibly from a third party confirming the death. It became necessary for Partridge to dispute the report of his own death, an absurd situation in which Swift revelled. Further absurdities were canvassed in An Argument to Prove that Abolishing of Christianity in England, May as things now stand, be attended with some

Inconveniences, and perhaps not produce those many good Effects proposed thereby of 1708 (41). Back in London On the fall of the Whig administration in 1710 (43), he returned to London to renew his application for the remission of taxes on behalf of the Irish clergy with the new Tory government, and became editor of The Examiner. Letters to Stella Between 1710 (43) and 1713 (46) he wrote detailed letters of his daily life to Esther Johnson which were later published as Letters to Stella. Important connections with the Tory administration He switched his allegiance from the Whigs to the Tories, and became deeply involved with the politics of the period, acting as a propagandist for the Tory administration of the Lords Bolingbrooke and Oxford. Particularly effective was his pamphlet The Conduct of the Allies, in which he accused Lord Marlborough of attempting to continue the war against France in order to line his own pockets. Cadenus and Vanessa He composed the poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1712 (45) as 'a task performed on a frolic among some ladies', and it was at this point that Esther Vanhomrigh, the Vanessa of the poem, made her declaration of love, which he did not return, claiming that he had only aimed at cultivating her mind. She, however, appears to have taken up the challenge of tutoring him in love. But what success Vanessa met Is to the world a secret yet. Whether the nymph to please her swain Talks in a high romantic strain; Or whether he at last descends To act with less seraphic ends; Or, to compound the business, whether They temper love and books together, Must never to mankind be told, Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold Deanery of St Patrick's He received the reward for his services to the Tory government in 1713 (46) in the form of the Deanery of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, a position he held until the end of his life, though at this point he was disappointed, regarding it as an exile.

The Scriblerus Club In 1714 (47) he became a founder member of the Scriblerus Club, whose other members included Pope, Gay, Arbuthnot and Congreve, but on the death of Queen Anne in the same year the Tory administration was pushed from office, and he left once again for Ireland. Vanessa follows him to Ireland. Esther Vanhomrighe, whose mother had died and who had property in Ireland, followed him, taking up her abode at Cellbridge, a few miles from Dublin. She began to importune him with her 'inexpressible passion' to which he responded by urging her not to make him or herself 'unhappy with imaginations'. Series of poems to Stella From 1719 (52) he wrote a series of poems to Stella, usually on the occasion of her birthday. Vanessa dies In 1723 (56), Esther Vanhomrighe died, having cancelled a will in favour of Swift just before, and leaving Cadenus and Vanessa for publication. More pamphlets His pamphlet A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture etc (1720, 53) won him great popularity in Dublin in response to the attempts of the authorities to protect their vested interests by suppressing it and imprisoning the printer. The Drapiers Letters (1724, 57), which exposed a shoddy plan to float a debased currency in Ireland for the benefit of an ironmonger called Wood and George Is favourite, the Duchess of Kendal, who between them had secured a patent from the Crown, added to his popularity. Gullivers' Travels He probably began writing Gullivers Travels in 1721 (54), finishing the work in 1725 (58). When published anonymously in 1726 (59) it was an immediate success. Alexander Pope In the same year he stayed with Alexander Pope in Twickenham, and between 1727 (60) and 1736 (69) five volumes of Swift-Pope Miscellanies were published. Death of Stella Much to his grief, Stella died in 1728 (61). Commenting on her illness and eventual death, he says 'there is not a greater folly, than to

contract too great and intimate a friendship, which must always leave the survivor miserable'. He was too ill to attend the funeral but, on the night of her death, began the Character of Mrs Johnson in which he commented 'She had a gracefulness, somewhat more than human, in every motion, word, and action. Never was so happy a conjunction of civility, freedom, easiness, and sincerity.....Honour, truth, liberality, good nature, and modesty were the virtues she chiefly possessed.' Afterwards, a lock of her hair was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, 'Only a womans hair'. More pamphlets The Grand Question Debated and A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people from being a burthen to their parents or the country, and for making them beneficial to the public (by fattening and eating them) appeared in 1729 (62). His popularity in Ireland continued unabated, and in the same year he received the freedom of Dublin. Frugality and charitable donation He lived frugally, and reputedly spent a third of his income on charities, saving what he could to contribute to the founding of St. Patrick's Hospital, a charitable institution for the care of idiots and the insane (of which he felt Ireland was much in need), which opened in 1757 (d12). Mental decay and death His mental decay, which he had always feared, became pronounced from 1738 (70). Paralysis was followed by aphasia and a long period of apathy. He died in 1745 (78), and was buried in St Patricks, alongside Stella. He wrote his own epitaph : The body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this Cathedral Church, is buried here, where fierce indignation can no more lacerate his heart. Go, traveller, and imitate, if you can, one who strove with all his strength to champion liberty. William Congreve, (born January 24, 1670, Bardsey, near Leeds, Yorkshire, Englanddied January 19, 1729, London), English dramatist who shaped the English comedy of manners through his brilliant comic dialogue, his satirical portrayal of the war of the sexes, and his ironic scrutiny of the affectations of his age. His major plays were The Old Bachelour (1693), The Double-Dealer (1693), Love for Love (1695), and The Way of the World (1700).

Early life
In 1674 Congreves father was granted a commission in the army to join the garrison at Youghal, in Ireland. When he was transferred to Carrickfergus, Congreve, in 1681, was sent to school at Kilkenny, the Eton of Ireland. In April 1686 he entered Trinity College, Dublin (where he

received his M.A. in 1696). He studied under the distinguished philosopher and mathematician St. George Ashe, who also tutored his elder schoolfellow and ultimate lifelong friend Jonathan Swift. It was probably during the Glorious Revolution (168889) that the family moved to the Congreve home at Stretton in Staffordshire, Congreves father being made estate agent to the earl of Cork in 1690. In 1691 he was entered as a law student at the Middle Temple. Never a serious reader in law, he published in 1692 under the pseudonym Cleophil a light but delightfully skillful near-parody of fashionable romance, possibly drafted when he was 17, Incognita: or, Love and Duty reconcild. He quickly became known among men of letters, had some verses printed in a miscellany of the same year, and became a protg of John Dryden. In that year Dryden published his translation of the satires of Juvenal and Persius (dated 1693), in which Congreve collaborated, contributing the complimentary poem To Mr. Dryden.

Poetic diction is the term used to refer to the linguistic style, the vocabulary, and the metaphors used in the writing of poetry. In the Western tradition, all these elements were thought of as properly different in poetry and prose up to the time of the Romantic revolution, when William Wordsworth challenged the distinction in his Romantic manifesto, the Preface to the second (1800) edition of Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth proposed that a "language near to the language of men" was as appropriate for poetry as it was for prose. This idea was very influential, though more in theory than practice: a special "poetic" vocabulary and mode of metaphor persisted in 19th century poetry. It was deplored by the Modernist poets of the 20th century, who again proposed that there is no such thing as a "prosaic"

Greece and Rome

Aristotle: "A certain admixture... of unfamiliar terms is necessary". In some languages, "poetic diction" is quite a literal dialect use. In Classical Greek literature, for example, certain linguistic dialects were seen as appropriate for certain types of poetry. Thus, tragedy and history would employ different Greek dialects. In Latin, poetic diction involved not only a vocabulary somewhat uncommon in everyday speech, but syntax and inflections rarely seen elsewhere. Thus, the diction employed by Horace and Ovid will differ from that used by Julius Caesar, both in terms of word choice and in terms of word form. The first writer to discuss poetic diction in the Western tradition was Aristotle (384 BC322 BC). In his Poetics, he stated that the perfect style for writing poetry was one that was clear without meanness. He went on to define meanness of style as the deliberate avoidance of unusual words. He also warned against over-reliance on strange words:

"The perfection of Diction is for it to be at once clear and not mean. The clearest indeed is that made up of the ordinary words for things, but it is mean... A certain admixture, accordingly, of unfamiliar terms is necessary. These, the strange word, the metaphor, the ornamental equivalent, etc., will save the language from seeming mean and prosaic, while the ordinary words in it will secure the requisite clearness. What helps most, however, to render the Diction at once clear and non-prosaic is the use of the lengthened, curtailed, and altered forms of words." 1

Germanic languages
Germanic languages developed their own form of poetic diction. In Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse, poetry often involved exceptionally compressed metaphors called "kennings", such as whaleroad for "the sea", or sword-weather for "battle". Also, poetry often contained riddles (e.g. the Gnomic Verses in Anglo-Saxon). Therefore, the order of words for poetry as well as the choice of words reflected a greater tendency to combine words to form metaphor. In Iceland, Snorri Sturluson wrote the Prose Edda, a.k.a. the Younger Edda around 1200 A.D., partially to explain the older Edda and poetic diction. Half of the Prose Edda, the Skldskaparml ("language of poetry creation" or "creative language of poets"), is a manual of traditional Icelandic poetic diction, containing a list of kennings. The list is systematized so as to function as a practical thesaurus for the use of poets wishing to write in the genuine old manner, and structured as an FAQ. Snorri gives traditional examples and also opens the way for creating correct new kennings: "How should man be periphrased? By his works, by that which he gives or receives or does; he may also be periphrased in terms of his property, those things which he possesses, and, if he be liberal, of his liberality; likewise in terms of the families from which he descended, as well as of those which have sprung from him. How is one to periphrase him in terms of these things? Thus, by calling him accomplisher or performer of his goings or his conduct, of his battles or sea-voyages or huntings or weapons or ships.... Woman should be periphrased with reference to all female garments, gold and jewels, ale or wine or any other drink, or to that which she dispenses or gives; likewise with reference to ale-vessels, and to all those things which it becomes her to perform or to give. It is correct to periphrase her thus: by calling her giver or user of that of which she partakes. But the words for 'giver' and 'user' are also names of trees; therefore woman is called in metaphorical speech by all feminine tree-names."2 In Britain the distinctively Germanic spirit of Anglo Saxon prosody placed particular emphasis on elaborate, decorative and controlled use of strongly ornate language, such as in consistent and sustained alliteration, as exemplified by the anonymous Pearl Poet of North-West England. In Scotland this spirit continued through to the renaissance so that in Middle Scots diction the 15th and 16th century Makars achieved a rich and varied blend of characteristically Germanic Anglic features with newer Latinate and aureate language and principles.


In Japanese poetry, the rules for writing traditional haiku require that each poem include a reference to a specific season. For the renga linked-verse form from which haiku derived, the rules specify that certain stanzas should have seasonal references. In both cases, such references are achieved by inclusion of a kigo (season word). Japanese poets regularly use a Saijiki, a kigo dictionary that contains lists of season words, organized by season, together with examples of haiku using those kigo.

Poetic diction in English

In English, poetic diction has taken multiple forms, but it generally mirrors the habits of Classical literature. Highly metaphoric adjective use, for example, can, through catachresis, become a common "poetic" word (e.g. the "rosy-fingered dawn" found in Homer, when translated into English, allows the "rose fingered" to be taken from its Homeric context and used generally to refer not to fingers, but to a person as being dawn-like). In the 16th century, Edmund Spenser (and, later, others) sought to find an appropriate language for the Epic in English, a language that would be as separate from commonplace English as Homeric Greek was from koine. Spenser found it in the intentional use of archaisms. (This approach was rejected by John Milton, who sought to make his epic out of blank verse, feeling that common language in blank verse was more majestic than difficult words in complex rhymes.) William Wordsworth also believed in using the language of the common man to portray a certain image and display his message. In the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth says "I have proposed to myself to imitate, and as far as possible, to adopt, the very language of men."[1] In the 18th century, pastoral and lyric poetry both developed a somewhat specialized vocabulary and poetic diction. The common elision within words ("howe'er" and "howsome," e.g.) were not merely graphical. As Paul Fussell and others have pointed out, these elisions were intended to be read aloud exactly as printed. Therefore, these elisions effectively created words that existed only in poetry. Further, the 18th century saw a renewed interest in Classical poetry, and thus poets began to test language for decorum. A word in a poem needed to be not merely accurate, but also fitting for the given poetic form. Pastoral, lyric, and philosophical poetry was scrutinized for the right type of vocabulary as well as the most meaningful. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele discussed poetic diction in The Spectator, and Alexander Pope satirized inappropriate poetic diction in his 1727 Peri Bathos.

William Wordsworth: "There will also be found in these volumes little of what is usually called poetic diction". The Romantics explicitly rejected the use of poetic diction, a term which William Wordsworth uses pejoratively in the 1802 "Preface to Lyrical Ballads": "There will also be found in these volumes little of what is usually called poetic diction; I have taken as much pains to avoid it as others ordinarily take to produce it; this I have done for the reason already alleged, to bring my language near to the language of men, and further, because the pleasure which I have proposed to myself to impart is of a kind

very different from that which is supposed by many persons to be the proper object of poetry." In an appendix, "By what is usually called poetic diction", Wordsworth goes on to define the poetic diction he rejects as above all characterized by heightened and unusual words and especially by "a mechanical adoption of... figures of speech, ... sometimes with propriety, but much more frequently applied... to feelings and ideas with which they had no natural connection whatsoever". The reason that a special poetic diction remote from prose usage gives pleasure to readers, suggests Wordsworth, is "its influence in impressing a notion of the peculiarity and exaltation of the Poet's character, and in flattering the Reader's self-love by bringing him nearer to a sympathy with that character." As an extreme example of the mechanical use of conventionally "poetic" metaphors, Wordsworth quotes an 18th-century metrical paraphrase of a passage from the Old Testament: How long, shall sloth usurp thy useless hours, Unnerve thy vigour, and enchain thy powers? While artful shades thy downy couch enclose, And soft solicitation courts repose, Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight, Year chases year with unremitted flight, Till want now following, fraudulent and slow, Shall spring to seize thee, like an ambushed foe.3 "From this hubbub of words", comments Wordsworth, "pass to the original... 'How long wilt thou sleep, 0 Sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man.'" (Proverbs, vii, 6) At the same time, Wordsworth himself, and Coleridge had an interest in the archaisms found in the border regions of England and introduced dialect into their poetry. While such language was "unnatural" to the London readership, Wordsworth was careful to point out that he was using it not for an exotic or elevated effect, but as a sample of the contemporary "language of men", specifically the language of poor, uneducated country folk. On the other hand, the later Romantic poet John Keats had a new interest in the poetry of Spenser and in the "ancient English" bards, and so his language was often quite elevated and archaic. Modernism, on the other hand, rejected specialized poetic diction altogether and without reservation. Ezra Pound, in his Imagist essay/manifesto A Few Don'ts (1913) warned against using superfluous words, especially adjectives (compare the use of adjectives in the 18th-century poem quoted above) and also advised the avoidance of abstractions, stating his belief that ' the natural object is always the adequate symbol'. Since the Modernists, poetry has approached all words as inherently interesting, and some schools of poetry after the Modernists (Minimalism and Plain language, in particular) have insisted on making diction itself the subject of poetry.

The Preface to the Lyrical Ballads is an essay, composed by William Wordsworth, for the second edition (published in January 1801, and often referred to as the "1800 Edition") of the poetry collection Lyrical Ballads, and then greatly expanded in the third edition of 1802.

Wordsworths Preface to the Lyrical Ballads underwent a number of revisions till it had its present form. The Lyrical Ballads was first published in 1798. Wordsworth came to add a short Advertisement to it. He added a more detailed Preface to the second edition of the Lyrical Balladsin 1800. It was extended and modified in 1802 edition of the Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth aim in writing the Preface was not to give an elaborate account of his theory of poetry or to make a systematic defense of his point-of-view. He wanted to introduce his poems with a prefatorial argument He added the Preface because he felt that his poems were different in theme and style, and therefore, he should not present them without an introduction. It is a well observed phenomenon that every new poet struggles to carve a niche. That is what Wordsworth tried to do with the help of the Preface. The primary object which Wordsworth proposed to propagate through the poems was to select incidents and situations from common life. The great innovation was to be in the language. The poetic diction of the eighteenth century, sought to substitute the selection of the language really used by men.The Advertisement included in the 1798 edition shows Wordsworths concern about the language of poetry. Wordsworth says that the poems in the volume are experiments since his chief aim is to see if the conversational language in use among the middle and lower classes of society can be employed expediently and fruitfully to write poems.

Wordsworths Conception of Poetry: Passion and Reflection Wordsworth propounded his views on poetry, its nature and functions and the qualification of a true poet in his Preface. So far as the nature of poetry is concerned, Wordsworth is of the opinion that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. Poetry has its origin in the internal feelings of the poet. It is a matter of passion, mood and temperament. Poetry cannot be produced by strictly adhering to the rules laid down by the Classicists. It must flow out naturally and smoothly from the soul of the poet. But it must be noted that good poetry, according to Wordsworth, is never an immediate expression of such powerful emotions. A good poet must ponder over them long and deeply. In the words of Wordsworth, poetry has its origin in emotions recollected in tranquility.