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Wed, 08 Jul 2009
The unmistakable Ben Jonson, who wrote many classic, and was quite a character in his days.



The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad,
   And so is the cat-a-mountain;
The ant and the mole sit both in a hole,
And the frogs peep out o' the fountain.

The dogs they do bay, and the timbrels play,
The spindle is now a turning;
The moon it is red, and the stars are fled,
But all the sky is a-burning:

The ditch is made, and our nails the spade,
With pictures full, of wax and of wool:
Their livers I stick with needles quick;
There lacks but the blood to make up the flood.
Quickly, dame, then bring your part in!
Spur, spur upon little Martin!

Merrily, merrily, make him sail,
                                A worm in his mouth and a thorn in his tail,
                                                          Fire above, and fire below,
With a whip in your hand to make him go!

Of course this couldn't have been written by any other than the Ben Jonsonvery strange Bed Jonson, and I mean it as a compliment.
For many years I always thought he came from England but his folks family coat of arms was Scottish I believe. He was born in June 1572 and he died in 1637. He was a bit of a rogue, which I presume was the reason for this next paragraph I took from the wikipaedia, my greatest source of fact finding.

...In 1597, a play co-written with Thomas Nashe entitled The Isle of Dogs was suppressed after causing great offence. Arrest warrants for Jonson and Nashe were subsequently issued by Elizabeth's so-called interrogator, Richard Topcliffe.
Jonson was jailed in Marshalsea Prison and famously charged with "Leude and mutynous behaviour", while Nashe managed to escape to Great Yarmouth.
A year later, Jonson was again briefly imprisoned, this time in Newgate Prison, for killing another man, an actor Gabriel Spenser, in a duel on 22 September 1598 in Hogsden Fields, (today part of Hoxton). Tried on a charge of manslaughter, Jonson pleaded guilty but was subsequently released by benefit of clergy, a legal ploy through which he gained leniency by reciting a brief bible verse in Latin, forfeiting his 'goods and chattels' and being branded on his left thumb.
It is said that he was technically the first Poet Laureate, but again this is debatable.

See what I mean, he was a friend of William Shakespeare, although that is debatable.
Posted 19:01

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