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THE LIFE

OF

BEN JONSON.

COLLECTED FROM LATE WRITERS:

1811.

Although we have thought it right to insert the Preface and Life of Jonson from Whalley's edition, in order that the reader may have in this, all that the editor did, yet we cannot forbear, in the impression now offered to the Public, giving those other particulars relating to our Poet, which have come to light since the time of Whalley, from whose edition the present has been carefully printed.

Ben Jonson was born in Hart's Horne Lane, near Charing-Cross, Westminster, June 11, 1574, about a month after the decease of his father. His family was originally of Annandale, in Scotland, whence his grand-father removed to Carlisle, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, under whom he enjoyed some office. the father of Ben, being deprived of his estate and liberty in the reign of Mary, went afterwards into holy orders, and leaving Carlisle, settled in Westminster. When of a fit age, our Poet was sent to a private school in the church of St. Martin's, and was afterwards removed to Westminster school. While successfully

But his son,

pursuing his studies, his mother married a "second husband, a bricklayer by trade, and took home her son with a view of bringing him up to her husband's business. This occupation ill accorded with his views, and he quickly left it and went to Cambridge; but necessity obliged him to return, when it is believed he was employed on the new building at Lincoln's Inn ; again he quitted the trowel, enlisted as a common soldier, and served in the English army, at that time engaged against the Spaniards in the Netherlands. On his return from this expedition, in which he acquired some glory, he resumed his studies at Cambridge.

When he left the University, he saw no way open for the acquirement of a subsistence : he had obtained a large portion of learning, but he knew of no method of rendering it subservient to the wants of life; he accordingly embarked with a company of strolling players, who exhibited in the neighbourhood of Shoreditch ; and in a very short time became a writer for the Stage, as well as actor. One of his pieces attracted the attention of Shakspeare, who recommended him and his writings to the public notice. In the year 1598, his comedy of “ Every Man in his Humour” procured him celebrity. Decker, a contemporary, censures his acting as awkward and mean, and his temper as rough and untractable. The principal works of the Poet are mentioned in Whalley's Life, which will prevent us from going over the same ground here. Ilis Alchymist gained him such reputation, that in 1619 he was made poet-laureat to King James the First, and obtained the degree of Master of Arts at Oxford. The King had already granted him an annuity of one hundred marks during life, “ in consideration of the good and acceptable service heretofore done, and hereafter to be done by the said B.J.” In the year 1630, King Charles, by letters patent, reciting the former grant, and that it had been surrendered, was pleased, “ in consideration of the good and acceptable service done to us, and our father, by the said B.J., and especially to encourage him to proceed in those services of his wit and pen, which we have enjoined him, and which we expect from him," to augment his annuity of one hundred marks to one hurdred pounds per annum, during his life, payable from Christmas 1629. lic enjoyed also a pension from the City, which

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