Poetic analysis of Ben Jonson

Essay by yasmineHigh School, 12th grade October 2002

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Ben Jonson was an English dramatist and poet, born in 1572 and whose classical learning, gift for satire, and brilliant style made him one of the great figures of English literature. Although he had very little formal education he had a vast knowledge of Latin and Greek literature. His work became popular and he wrote entertaining plays for the court of King James I. These plays displayed his erudition, wit, and versatility and contained some of his best lyric poetry. Although Ben Jonson lived during the middle 1600's, when people were at most times trying to put on genteel airs, he developed a more earthy view of existence. He lived a violent life at times and had a few run-ins with the law. By all appearances it may have seem he was a brutish rogue but underneath it all he had the heart of a romantic.

Ben Jonson wrote many lyrical poems and he was keenly adept at illustrating and portraying contemporary people.

The poems, Song: To Celia and Song: Still to Be Neat are both written about a particular women. The theme or central idea of the first poem is about all consuming love that he had for the person Celia. Throughout this poem his praise of her is so extreme that she takes on an unearthly quality. The line which clearly expresses the author's attitude are lines 7-8:"But might I of Jove's nectar sup, I would not change for thine." He declares the only thing that his soul needs is her love, which is divine and all-encompassing. In contrast, his theme in the second poem, is one of chastisement on vain women. He declares that he prefers a natural and simple woman in lines 7-8:"Give me a look, give me a face, that makes simplicity a grace." His...