To Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland

By Ben Jonson 1572–1637 Ben Jonson
That poets are far rarer births than kings
Your noblest father proved; like whom before,
Or then, or since, about our Muses’ springs,
Came not that soul exhausted so their store.
Hence was it that the destinies decreed
(Save that most masculine issue of his brain)
No male unto him; who could so exceed
Nature, they thought, in all that he would fain.
At which she, happily displeased, made you,
On whom, if he were living now to look,
He should those rare and absolute numbers view,
As he would burn or better far his book.

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Poet Ben Jonson 1572–1637

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Ben  Jonson

Biography

Ben Jonson’s “Song to Celia” is known to millions as “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.” Jonson was educated at the prestigious Westminster School in London. He took up acting, and by 1597 he was writing original plays. Jonson’s first widely acclaimed play, Every Man in His Humour, included William Shakespeare in its cast.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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