Herrick’s Ode To Ben Jonson

AG: Then this Ode for him (Ben Jonson),  [by Robert Herrick] (on page two seventy-nine), is in an even funnier little stanza-form, and it’s real down-home, mentioning the bars that they drink at and the places that they went to to make their poetry. – “Ah Ben! / Say how, or when/ Shall we thy guests/Meet at those lyric feasts/ Made at the Sun,/ The Dog, the Triple Tun?/Where we such clusters had/ As made us nobly wild, not mad” – (“nobly wild not mad”, that’s a good definition – “crazy wisdom” – “nobly wild not mad”) – “And yet each verse of thine/ Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.” – “My Ben/Or come again,/Or send to us/Thy wit’s great overplus;/But teach us yet/Wisely to husband it;/Lest we that talent spend,/And having once brought to an end/That precious stock, the store/Of such a wit the world should have no more.” – (The second stanza’s not so interesting – but the first – “Ah Ben! / Say how, or when/ Shall we thy guests/ Meet at those lyric feasts/ Made at the Sun,/ The Dog, the Triple Tun?” – remember the bar, the pub, what do they call them?

Student: Tavern

AG: Tavern – taverns –  the Sun,/ The Dog, the Triple Tun? – Taverns –  What if they still exist?. Some taverns of that time do. Apparently, they had quite a tavern poetry-scene in those days, just like..now coffee-houses , taverns – It’s an old tradition,, apparently, for poets to get drunk and shout their verses at each other, banging tankards on the table, in the tavern.

{Audio for the above can be heard here, begining at approximately eighty-four-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately  eighty-six minutes in]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *