Posts Tagged ‘Ben Jonson’
Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” is a classic example of an estate poem, a term the GRE Literature may want you to know. This form, which became fashionable in the 17th century, describes a landscape attached to a noble house and typically becomes a meditation upon the relationships between nature & culture. Here’s the opening- read the full text of “To Penshurst”
Thou art not, PENSHURST, built to envious show
Of touch, or marble ; nor canst boast a row
Of polish’d pillars, or a roof of gold :
Thou hast no lantern whereof tales are told ;
Or stair, or courts ; but stand’st an ancient pile,
And these grudg’d at, art reverenced the while.
Thou joy’st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water ; therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy walks for health, as well as sport :
Thy mount, to which thy Dryads do resort, 10
Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made,
Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade ;
That taller tree, which of a nut was set,
At his great birth, where all the Muses met.