Sidney: The Critical Heritage

By Martin Garrett | Go to book overview

27.

Ben Jonson

1599, 1609, 1619, c. 1623-37

The range of Jonson’s references to Sidney suggests the cultural centrality—or inescapability—of Arcadia during his adult life. In addition to the material extracted here, Quarlous in Bartholomew Fair (1614) chooses ‘Argalus’, ‘out of the Arcadia’, for his ‘word’ (III.iii.68-9), the Lady in The New Inne (1629) lists Sidney among ‘Loves Fathers’ (III.ii.205-6), and there are brief complimentary mentions in poems celebrating Sidney’s relations: Epigrams 103 and 114 and ‘To Penshurst’, lines 13-14. For some examples of Sidney’s possible influence on Jonson, see Alwin Thaler, Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney, Cambridge, Mass., 1947, pp. 11-13.

Already fairly disrespectful in his dramatic references, Jonson is more iconoclastic in his remarks to William Drummond about Sidney’s pimples and the superiority of his daughter’s poetry. One should perhaps bear in mind, however, that ‘much of what he said to Drummond must have been deliberately provocative’ (Ben Jonson, The Complete Poems, ed. George Parfitt, Harmondsworth, 1975, p. 605).

Text from Ben Jonson, ed. C.H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, 11 vols, Oxford, 1925-52.


(a) Every Man Out of His Humour (1599), II.iii.221-6, III.v.28-9.

Fastidius Briske: [Saviolina’s wit] flowes from her like nectar, and shee doth give it, that sweet, quick grace, and exornation in the composure, that…shee does observe as pure a phrase, and use as choise figures as any be i’ the Arcadia.

Fungoso [awaiting his new suit]: He sit i my old sute, or else lie a bed, and reade the Arcadia.


(b) Epicoene (1609), III.iii.115-18.

Dauphine: A knight live by his verses? he did not make ’hem to that ende I hope.

Clerimont. And yet the noble SIDNEY lives by his, and the noble family not asham’d.

-152-

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Sidney: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor’s Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Note on the Text xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Edward Waterhouse 87
  • 2 - Philip Sidney 88
  • 4 - Edmund Spenser 93
  • Note 94
  • 6 - George Puttenham 96
  • 7 - William Temple 98
  • 8 - Geoffrey Whitney 102
  • 12 - George Whetstone 110
  • 15 - Sir John Harington 115
  • 16 - Thomas Newman 118
  • 18 - Edmund Spenser 127
  • 21 - Thomas Moffet 136
  • 22 - John King 139
  • 24 - Gervase Markham 141
  • 25 - Francis Meres 146
  • Note 147
  • 27 - Ben Jonson 152
  • 29 - Brian Twyne 157
  • 32 - Matthew Gwynne 169
  • 34 - Richard Carew 171
  • 36 - John Day 174
  • Notes 186
  • Note 200
  • 45 - John Donne 211
  • 47 - Upon Sydneis Arcadia 217
  • 48 - Michael Drayton 219
  • 52 - Edmund Waller 227
  • 54 - Richard Lovelace 232
  • 62 - Charles Cotton 259
  • 63 - John Aubrey 260
  • 65 - Edward Phillips 264
  • 66 - Life of Spenser 265
  • 67 - D. Tyndale 266
  • 69 - Anthony Wood 268
  • 70 - ‘j.N.’ 270
  • 71 - D. Stanley 272
  • 72 - Elizabeth Montagu 275
  • 75 - Samuel Johnson 281
  • 76 - ‘philisides’ 283
  • 78 - The History of Argalus and Parthenia 287
  • 79 - The Gentleman’s Magazine 288
  • 80 - Richard Brinsley Sheridan 290
  • 84 - Thomas Zouch 296
  • 85 - The Annual Review and History of Literature for 1808 299
  • 87 - Sir Egerton Brydges 304
  • 89 - William Hazlitt 317
  • 94 - Henry Hallam 335
  • 95 - Isaac D’israeli 337
  • Select Bibliography 350
  • Index 353
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