About This Book
The Alchemist - Ben Jonson - If thou beest more, thou art an understander, and then I trust thee. If thou art one that takest up, and but a pretender, beware of what hands thou receivest thy commodity; for thou wert never more fair in the way to be cozened, than in this age, in poetry, especially in plays: wherein, now the concupiscence of dances and of antics so reigneth, as to run away from nature, and be afraid of her, is the only point of art that tickles the spectators. But how out of purpose, and place, do I name art? When the professors are grown so obstinate contemners of it, and presumers on their own naturals, as they are deriders of all diligence that way, and, by simple mocking at the terms, when they understand not the things, think to get off wittily with their ignorance. Nay, they are esteemed the more learned, and sufficient for this, by the many, through their excellent vice of judgment.Benjamin "Ben" Jonson was born in June, 1572. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays; Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, and his equally accomplished lyric poems. A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, including time in jail and a penchant for switching faiths, Jonson had an unparalleled breadth of influence on Jacobean and Caroline playwrights and poets.In 1616 Jonson was appointed by King James I to receive a yearly pension of £60 to become what is recognised as the first official Poet Laureate. He died on the 6th of August, 1637 at Westminster and is buried in the north aisle of the nave at Westminster Abbey. A master of both playwriting and poetry his reputation continues to endure and reach a new audience with each succeeding generation.
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