1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ben Jonson

William Hazlitt, in Lectures chiefly on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1820; 1845) 151.



He was no doubt a sturdy, plain-spoken, honest, well-disposed man, inclining more to the severe than the amiable side of things; but his good qualities, learning, talents, and convivial habits preponderated over his defects of temper or manners; and in a course of friendship some difference of character, even a little roughness or acidity, may relish to the palate; and olives may be served up with effect as well as sweetmeats. Ben Jonson, even by his quarrels and jealousies, does not seem to have been curst with the last and damning disqualification for friendship, — heartless indifference. He was also what is understood by a "good fellow," fond of good cheer and good company: and the first step for others to enjoy your society, is for you to enjoy theirs. If any one can do without the world, it is certain that the world can do quite as well without them.