Jonson by Wilbur D. Nesbit

Jonson
by Wilbur D. Nesbit


Ben Johnson















O rare Ben Jonson, you who wrote
"To Celia,"
Presager of that later note
,"Bedelia,"
To you, rare Ben, our hat we raise
For all your poems and your plays.

You knew, forsooth, if Shakespeare's work
Was taken,
Like copies by a scrawling clerk,
From Bacon;
You would have known of that flimflam
Without a hidden cryptogram.

O rare Ben Jonson, with your pen
You labored,
And with brave lords and gentlemen
You neighbored—
You never turned out feeble farce
In sentences that would not parse.

To managers you ne'er were made
To grovel,
And, Ben, you never called a spade
A shovel—
Where you wrote sentences risqué
We now have costumes very gay.

O rare Ben Jonson, when you asked
That lady
To drink, her name you never masked
As "Sadie,"
Nor did you call her "Creole Belle"
Or half the song names we might tell.

"Drink to me only with thine eyes!"
Your sighing
Showed you no steins of any size
Were buying.
But from the way the stanzas run,
You, rare Ben Jonson, were well done.