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English Lands, Letters, and Kings (1897)


English Lands, Letters, and Kings (1897)

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    Available in PDF Format | English Lands, Letters, and Kings (1897).pdf | Unknown
    Donald Grant Mitchell
Excerpt from book: Ben Jonaon again. We must not forget our literature: and what has become of our friend Ben Jonson in these times ? He is hearty and thriving: he has written gratulatory and fulsome verses to the new sovereign. He is better placed with James than even with Elizabeth. If his tragedy of " Sejanus" has not found a great success, he has more than made up the failing by the brilliant masques he has written. The pedantic King loves their pretty show of classicism, which he can interpret better than his courtiers. He battens, too, upon the flattery that is strown with a lavish hand: — " Never came man more longed for, more desired, And being come, more reverenced, lov'd, admired." This is the strain: no wonder that the poet comes by pension: no wonder he has " commands," with goodly fees, to all the fetes in the royal honor. Yet he is too strong and robust and learned to be called a mere sycophant. The more I read of the liter- SpeecltM of Gralulation on King's Entertainment. ary history of those days the more impressed I am by the predominance of Ben Jonson: — a great, careless, hard-living, hard-drinking, not ill-natured literary monarch- His strength is evidenced by the deference shown him—by his versatility: now some musical masque sparkling with little dainty bits which a sentimental miss might copy in her album, or chant in her boudoir : and this, matched or followed by some labored drama full of classic knowledge, full of largest wordcraft, snapping with fire-crackers of wit, loaded with ponderous nuggets of strong sense, and the whole capped and booted with prologue and epilogue where poetic graces shine through proudest averments of indifference — of scorn of applause — of audacious self-sufficiency. It was some fifteen years after James' coming to power that ...  
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  • PDF | 206 pages
  • Donald Grant Mitchell
  • General Books LLC
  • Unknown
  • 6
  • Other
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