The Muses’ fairest light in no dark time,

The wonder of a learned age; the line

Which none can pass; the most proportioned wit

To nature; the best judge of what was fit;

The deepest, plainest, highest clearest pen;

The voice most echoed by consenting men,

The soul which answered best to all well said

By others, and which most requital made;

Turned to the highest hey of ancient Rome,

Returning all her music with his own;

In whom, with nature, study claimed a part,

And yet who to himself owed all his art:

Here lies Ben Jonson.  Every age will look

With sorrow here, with wonder on his book.

Thanks, Sidney Godolphin, for the superlatives.  They’re all very true, I’m sure — especially that bit about the ages looking on in wonder (mostly they’re wondering who Ben Jonson is, but we’ll overlook that, just for today).

Happy birthday, Ben!

11 June 2009 ~ St. Catharines


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