1699 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ben Jonson

Charles Gildon, in Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1699) 77.



Westminster gave him Birth, and the First Rudiments of his Learning, under Mr. Cambden; which St. John's-College of Cambridge, and Christ-Church of Oxon finish'd, where he took his Master of Arts Degree; Necessity drove him thence, to follow his Father-in-Law's Trade of a Brick-layer; working at Lincoln's-Inn, with a Trowel in his Hand, and Horace in his Pocket, he found a Patron that set him free from that Slavish Employment. He was of an open, free Temper; blunt and haughty to his Antagonists and Criticks; a Jovial and Pleasant Companion; was Poet Laureat to James and Charles the First. He died in the Sixty Third Year of his Age, An. Dom. 1637. and his buried in Westminster Abby, near the Belfry, with only this Epitaph:

O RARE BEN. JOHNSON.