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The Poetaster

Ben Jonson

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Lus. Gods a'me! what will you do? why, young master, you are not Castalian mad, lunatic, frantic, desperate, ha! Ovid. What ailest thou, Luscus? Lus. God be with you, sir; I'll leave you to your poetical fancies, and furies. I'll not be guilty, I. [Exit. Ovid. Be not, good ignorance. I'm glad th'art gone; For thus alone, our ear shall better judge The hasty errors of our morning muse. Envy, why twit'st thou me my time's spent ill, And call'st my verse, fruits of an idle quill? Or that, unlike the line from whence I sprung, War's dusty honours I pursue not young? Or that I study not the tedious laws, And prostitute my voice in every cause? Thy scope is mortal; mine eternal fame, Which through the world shall ever chaunt my name. Homer will live whilst Tenedos stands, and Ide, Or, to the sea, fleet Simois doth slide: And so shall Hesiod too, while vines do bear, . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Ben Jonson was an enormously erudite writer and he is not easy to read because of the wealth of cross references in his works. If it was performed in its entirety the pacing of this play would have to have been electric, the dialogues spurted with sharp clear wit. How he managed to stage this with h

Good grief this is long! Jonson's (possibly) final shot in the War of the Theatres, in which he portrays a thinly-veiled representation of his rival, Marston as a worthless poet vomiting up peculiar words. A certain irony in that Jonson accuses other writers of long, tedious speeches. In long, tedio

Such a blatant attack on poets of the day, it got so crazy and silly in there towards the end.