The Poems of Ben Jonson

The Poems of Ben Jonson

5 (1 rating by Goodreads)
Edited by  , Edited by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available soon, pre-order now.
When will my order arrive?


Ben Jonson, who was with Shakespeare and Marlowe one of three principal playwrights of his age, was also one of its most original and influential poets. Known best for the country house poem 'To Penshurst' and his moving elegy 'On my First Son', his work inspired the whole generation of seventeenth-century poets who declared themselves the 'Sons of Ben'. This edition brings his three major publications, Epigrams (1616), The Forest (1616), and Underwood (1641) together with his large body of uncollected poems to create the largest collection of Jonson's verse that has been published. It thus gives readers a comprehensive view of the wide range of his achievement, from satirical epigrams through graceful lyrics to tender epitaphs. Though he is often seen as the preeminent English poet of the plain style, Jonson employed a wealth of topical and classical allusion and a compressed syntax which mean his poetry can require as much annotation for the modern reader as that of his friend John Donne. This edition not only provides comprehensive explanation and contextualization aimed at student and non-specialist readers alike, but presents the poems in a modern spelling and punctuation that brings Jonson's poetry to life.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 860 pages
  • 156 x 234mm | 454g
  • Routledge
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9 Halftones, black and white; 9 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1138904716
  • 9781138904712

Table of contents


Note by the General Editors



List of Illustrations

Chronological Table of Jonson's Life



POEMS 1597-1616

1 Song from The Case is Altered

2 From Thomas Palmer, The Sprite of Trees and Herbs

3 Prologus, Poem, Songs and Epilogus from Cynthia's Revels

4 From Nicholas Breton, Melancholic Humours. In Authorem

5 An Epistle to a Friend

6 From England's Parnassus: Murder. Peace. Riches

7 [On Thomas Nashe]

8 From Love's Martyr. The Phoenix Analysed. Ode

9 Prologue, Songs and Poems from Poetaster

10 Ode 'If men and times were now'

11 A Speech out of Lucan

12 From Hugh Holland, Pancharis. Ode

13 B. J. HIS PANEGYRE on the happy entrance of James our sovereign to his

first high session of Parliament

14 From Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Mind in General. To the Author

15 Prologue from Every Man in His Humour

16 Songs from The Masque of Blackness

17 Songs and Epithalamion from Hymenaei

18 Prologue, Songs and Epilogue from Volpone

19 Song from An Entertainment at Theobalds

20 Songs from The Entertainment for the Merchant Taylors Company

21 Songs from The Masque of Beauty

22 Song and Epithalanion from The Haddington Masque

23 Charms and Songs from The Masque of Queens

24 Song from The Entertainment at Britain's Burse

25 Epitaph on Cecilia Bulstrode

26 From John Fletcher, The Faithful Shepherdess. To the Worthy Author,

Master John Fletcher

27 Prologues and Song from Epicene

28 Songs from Oberon, The Fairy Prince

29 Songs from Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly

30 From Coryate's Crudities. Certain Opening and Drawing Distichs

The CHARACTER of the Famous Odcombian

To the Right Noble Tom Tell-Truth of His Travails

31 From Coryate's Crambe. Certain Verses Written Upon Coryate's Crudities

32 Songs from Love Restored

33 From Thomas Farnaby's Juvenal

34 From Thomas Farnaby's Persius

35 From Thomas Farnaby's Seneca

36 A Speech presented unto King James at a Tilting

37 From John Stephens, Cynthia's Revenge.

To His Much and Worthily Esteemed Friend the Author

38 To the Most Noble, and Above His Titles, Robert, Earl of Somerset

39 Songs from The Irish Masque at Court

40 From Christopher Brooke, The Ghost of Richard the Third.

To His Friend the Author Upon His Richard

41 From The Husband. To the Worthy Author on The Husband

42 Prologue, Songs and Epilogue from Bartholomew Fair

43 Song from Mercury Vindicated

44 Martial. [Epigram 10.47]

45 Songs from The Golden Age Restored

46 From William Browne, Britannia's Pastorals.

To my Truly-Beloved Friend, Master Browne On His Pastorals



1. To the Reader

2 To My Book

3 To My Bookseller

4 To King James

5 On the Union

6 To Alchemists

7 On the New Hot-House

8 On a Robbery

9 To All to Whom I Write

10 To My Lord Ignorant

11 On Something that Walks Somewhere

12 On Lieutenant Shift

13 To Doctor Empiric

14 To William Camden

15 On Court-Worm

16 To Brain-Hardy

17 To the Learned Critic

18 To My Mere English Censurer

19 On Sir Cod the Perfumed

20 To the Same Sir Cod

21 On Reformed Gamester

22 On My First Daughter

23 To John Donne

24 To the Parliament

25 On Sir Voluptuous Beast

26 On the Same Beast

27 On Sir John Roe

28 On Don Surly

29 To Sir Annual Tilter

30 To Person Guilty

31 On Bank the Usurer

32 On Sir John Roe

33 To the Same

34 Of Death

35 To King James

36 To the Ghost of Martial

37 On Cheverel the Lawyer

38 To Person Guilty

39 On Old Colt

40 On Margaret Ratcliffe

41 On Gypsy

42 On Giles and Joan

43 To Robert, Earl of Salisbury

44 On Chuff, Banks the Usurer's Kinsman

45 On My First Son

46 To Sir Luckless Woo-All

47 To the Same

48 On Mongrel Esquire

49 To Playwright

50 To Sir Cod

51 To King James, Upon the Happy False Rumour of his Death

52 To Censorious Courtling

53 To Old-End Gatherer

54 On Cheverel

55 To Francis Beaumont

56 On Poet-Ape

57 On Bawds and Usurers

58 To Groom Idiot

59 On Spies

60 To William, Lord Monteagle

61 To Fool, or Knave

62 To Fine Lady Would-Be

63 To Robert, Earl of Salisbury

64 To the Same, Upon the Accession of the Treasurership to Him

65 To My Muse

66 To Sir Henry Cary

67 To Thomas, Earl of Suffolk

68 On Playwright

69 To Pertinax Cob

70 To William Roe

71 On Court-Parrot

72 To Courtling

73 To Fine Grand

74 To Thomas, Lord Chancellor Egerton

75 On Lip the Teacher

76 On Lucy, Countess of Bedford

77 To One That Desired Me Not to Name Him

78 To Hornet

79 To Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland

80 Of Life and Death

81 To Prowl the Plagiary

82 On Cashiered Captain Surly

83 To a Friend

84 To Lucy, Countess of Bedford

85 To Sir Henry Goodyere

86 To the Same

87 On Captain Hazard the Cheater

88 On English Monsieur

89 To Edward Alleyn

90 On Mill, My Lady's Woman

91 To Sir Horace Vere

92 The New Cry

93 To Sir John Radcliffe

94 To Lucy, Countess of Bedford, With Master Donne's Satires

95 To Sir Henry Savile

96 To John Donne

97 On the New Motion

98 To Sir Thomas Roe

99 To the Same

100 On Playwright

101 Inviting a Friend to Supper

102 To William, Earl of Pembroke

103 To Mary, Lady Wroth

104 To Susan, Countess of Montgomery

105 To Mary, Lady Wroth

106 To Sir Edward Herbert

107 To Captain Hungry

108 To True Soldiers

109 To Sir Henry Neville

110 To Clement Edmondes, On his Caesar's Commentaries

111 To the Same, on the Same

112 To a Weak Gamester in Poetry

113 To Sir Thomas Overbury

114 To Mistress Philip Sidney

115 On the Town's Honest Man

116 To Sir William Jephson

117 On Groin

118 On Gut

119To Sir Rafe Shelton

120 Epitaph on S. P. a child of Q. Elizabeth's Chapel

121 To Benjamin Rudyerd

122 To the Same

123 To the Same

124 Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H.

125 To Sir William Uvedale

126 To his lady, then Mistress Cary

127 To Esme, Lord Aubigny

128 To William Roe

129 To Mime

130 To Alfonso Ferrabosco, on his Book

131 To the Same

132 To Master Joshua Sylvester

133 On the Famous Voyage


1 Why I Write Not of Love

2 To Penshurst

3 To Sir Robert Wroth

4 To the World: A Farewell for a Gentlewoman, virtuous and noble

5 Song To Celia

6 To the Same

7 Song That Women are but Men's Shadows

8 To Sickness

9 Song To Celia

10(a) Proludium

10 'And must I sing?'

11 Epode

12 Epistle To Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland

13 Epistle To Katherine, Lady Aubigny

14 Ode to Sir William Sidney, on his Birthday

15 To Heaven

POEMS 1616-1636

47 Songs from Christmas His Masque

48 Songs from The Vision of Delight

49 Songs from Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue

50 From George Chapman, The Georgics of Hesiod. To My Worthy and

Honoured Friend Master George Chapman

51.1 To Master Ben Jonson in his Journey By Master Craven.

51.2 This Was Master Ben Jonson's Answer of the Sudden

52.1 A Grace by Ben Jonson Extempore Before King James

52.2 A Form of a Grace

52.3 Ben Jonson's Grace before King James

53 Charles Cavendish to His Posterity

54 Leges Convivales Quod felix, faustumque in Apolline sit

55 Verses Over the Door at the Entrance into the Apollo

56 Songs from Pan's Anniversary, or The Shepherd's Holy-day

57 Songs from A Masque of the Metamorphosed Gypsies

58 Ballad from The Masque of Augurs

59 From James Mabbe, The Rogue. On the Author, Work, and Translator

60 From Mr William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.

To the Reader

61 From Mr William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.

To the Memory of My Beloved, The Author Master William Shakespeare

And What He Hath Left Us

62 Song from Neptune's Triumph

63 To the Memory of That Most Honoured Lady Jane,

Eldest Daughter to Cuthbert, Lord Ogle, and Countess of Shrewsbury

64 Prologues and Epilogue from The Staple of News

65 From Lucan's Pharsalia. To My Chosen Friend ... Thomas May, Esquire

66 From Michael Drayton, The Battle of Agincourt. The Vision of Ben Jonson

on the Muses of his Friend Michael Drayton

67 [Song. Death and Love Paralleled]

68 Prologue, Song and Epilogues from The New Inn

69 Ode to Himself

70 Epitaph on Katherine, Lady Ogle

71 From Sir John Beaumont, Bosworth Field. On the Honoured Poems

of His Honoured Friend, Sir John Beaumont, Baronet

72 From Edward Filmer, French Court Airs. To My Worthy Friend,

Master Edward Filmer, On His Work Published

73 Euclia's Hymn. From Love's Triumph Through Callipolis

74 Song from Chloridia

75 An Expostulation with Inigo Jones

76 To Inigo, Marquis Would-Be: A Corollary

77 To A Friend: An Epigram of Him

78.1 Epigram. To my kind friend Mr Ben: Johnson upon his epigram to the Lord Treasurer

78.2 To My Detractor

79 From The Northern Lass. To My Old Faithful Servant ... The Author

of this Work, Master Richard Brome

80.1 Mr Gil to Mr Ben: Johnson upon the occasion of his Magnetic Lady

80.2 [An Answer to Alexander Gil]

81 [A Song of Welcome to King Charles]

82 [A Song of the Moon]

83 Songs from The King's Entertainment at Welbeck

84 From Alice Sutcliffe, Meditations of Man's Mortality.

To Mistress Alice Sutcliffe, on Her Divine Meditations

85 From Joseph Rutter, The Shepherd's Holiday.

To My Dear Son and Right Learned Friend, Master Joseph Rutter

86 From Annalia Dubrensia. An Epigram to My Jovial Good Friend

Master Robert Dover



1.1 The Sinner's Sacrifice to the Holy Trinity

1.2 A Hymn to God the Father

1.3 A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour

2 A Celebration of Charis in Ten Lyric Pieces

2.1 His Excuse for Loving

2.2 How He Saw Her

2.3 What He Suffered

2.4 Her Triumph

2.5 His Discourse with Cupid

2.6 Claiming a Second Kiss by Desert

2.7 Begging Another, on Colour of Mending the Former

2.8 Urging Her of a Promise

2.9 Her Man Described by Her Own Dictamen

2.10 Another Lady's Exception, Present at the Hearing

3 The Musical Strife, in a Pastoral Dialogue

4 A Song

5 In the Person of Womankind: A Song Apologetic

6 Another: In Defence of their Inconstancy: A Song

7 A Nymph's Passion

8 The Hourglass

9 My Picture Left in Scotland

10 Against Jealousy

11 The Dream

show more

About Tom Cain

Tom Cain is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern Literature at Newcastle University. He has worked on Ben Jonson for many years, but has also written a study of Tolstoy (1977), edited Nicholas Hilliard's Art of Limning (1981), an anthology of Jacobean and Caroline Poetry (1981) and several collections of essays on the early modern period. In 2001 he published an edition of the large collection of manuscript poems left by Robert Herrick's patron, Mildmay Fane, Earl of Westmorland, and in 2013, with Ruth Connolly, he edited The Complete Poetry of Robert Herrick. He has written essays on Donne and Jonson, and edited Jonson's Poetaster for the Revels Plays (1995), and Sejanus for the Cambridge Works of Ben Jonson.

Ruth Connolly is Senior Lecturer in Seventeenth Century Literature at Newcastle University. She has written essays on the circulation of Stuart lyric poetry in manuscript, and on early modern women's writing and intellectual cultures, and on the poetry of Hester Pulter, Richard Lovelace, and of Jonson. In 2011 she edited with Tom Cain a collection of essays, 'Lords of Wine and Oile': Community and Conviviality in the Poetry of Robert Herrick, with Christopher Burlinson a special issue of Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (Winter, 2012) on editing Stuart poetry. This was followed in 2013 by an edition with Tom Cain of The Complete Poetry of Robert Herrick, and special issues of The Seventeenth Century on Cavalier writing (2018), and (with Naomi McAreavey) of Literature Compass on the literatures of early modern Ireland (2019).
show more

Rating details

1 rating
5 out of 5 stars
5 100% (1)
4 0% (0)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X