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"The Tribe of Ben"
Transcript of "The Tribe of Ben"
The Tribe of Ben
Went to Cambridge to be a minister and pastored a small country church.
Wrote religious verses & meditations
When the Puritans came to power he was pushed out of his church (because he was Anglican) and he moved back to London.
Wrote... different kinds of poetry.
Probably more poser than player.
Wrote five poems dedicated to Ben Johnson after his death.
Sir John Suckling
Raised in a wealthy family of the nobility.
Known for his great skill at "conversation" (flirting).
Wrote his own plays which he produced himself and contained his poetry.
Led a cavalry troop in the army and was criticized for caring more about the soldier's uniforms than their skills in battle.
Joined an attempt to rescue a royal in exile and moved to France in embarrassment after it failed.
Died "of shame" at 33 years old.
Upon the Loss of His Mistresses
I have lost, and lately, these
Many dainty mistresses:
Stately Julia, prime of all;
Sappho next, a principal;
Smooth Anthea, for a skin
White, and heaven-like crystalline;
Sweet Electra, and the choice
Myrrha, for the lute, and voice;
Next, Corinna, for her wit,
And the graceful use of it;
With Perilla; all are gone;
Only Herrick's left alone
For to number sorrow by
Their departures hence, and die.
One of the only Puritans in the group.
Like Johnson himself, he was against the monarchy.
Was also anti-Cromwell.
Eventually became the assistant of John Milton, who sponsored the publishing of a number of his poems.
Come little infant, love me now,
While thine unsuspected years
Clear thine agèd father's brow
From cold jealousy and fears.
Now then love me : Time may take
Thee before thy time away ;
Of this need we'll virtue make,
And learn love before we may.
So to make all rivals vain,
Now I crown thee with my love :
Crown me with thy love again,
And we both shall monarchs prove.
The Constant Lover
Three whole days together!
And am like to love three more,
If it prove fair weather.
Time shall moult away his wings
Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
Such a constant lover
But the spite on ‘t is, no praise
Is due at all to me:
Love with me hath made no stays,
Had it been any but she.
Had it been any but she,
And that very face,
There had been at least ere this
A dozen dozen in her place.
AKA "The Sons of Ben" or "The Cavalier Poets"
Located on Fleet Street
Above the mantelpiece in this room Jonson inserted a marble slab engraved with his Leges Conviviales, or 'Rules of Conviviality'.
These were Johnson's rules for the group.
Jonson’s twenty-four lines of Latin became thirty-four in English. The opening lines were:
“Let none but guests, or clubbers, hither come, Let dunces, fools, sad sordid men keep home. Let learned, civil, merry men b’ invited, And modest too; nor be choice ladies slighted.”
Reveals the fact that women might occasionally be found at their dinners.
The last rule of the two dozen in Jonson’s original was the warning:
“Whoe’er shall publish what’s here done and said From our society must be banished;
Let none by drinking do or suffer harm,
And, while we stay, let us be always warm.”
Jonson and his followers congregated at London taverns, especially the Apollo Room in the Devil Tavern.
They came from the wealthier class that supported the king, the Cavaliers.
Most of them were “courtiers”—members of Charles I’s court.
Ben Johnson himself was not pro-monarchy, but his followers were.
They reference “educated” things and classical works (Homer, Ovid, etc) that was meant to impress the king.
Stayed away from topics like religion, philosophy, and the arts. Those were fluff!
Strove to create poetry where both pleasure and virtue thrived
Most poems “celebrate beauty, love, nature, sensuality, drinking, good fellowship, honor, and social life.”
Carpe Diem (“Seize the Day”)
Live life to the fullest!
For them that meant gaining material wealth and having sex with lots of women.
Themes of Cavalier Poets
She's too young for most men to notice, so he doesn't have any competition. Her dad isn't even thinking about guarding her from suitors yet.
We have to act on our love now before life gets int eh way. And our love will be "purer" because it's so young and innocent.
Our love is noble. I'll make you my queen and I'll be your king. Even royalty will be jealous of us.
Listing all his female "companions" who have left him and lamenting at being alone.
There's more where she came from.
Makes three days sound impressive. Like a long-term relationship!
"if things go well."
"if I feel like it..."
Love doesn't last long for him.
One of the major themes of the Cavalier Poets was “Carpe Diem” or, “Seize the Day”. This meant that they desired to live life in the moment and not let opportunities pass them by. Usually this was used in reference to making money or “wooing” women. In your pods, discuss what qualities of this theme you see in the poems of the following authors.
Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”,
Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins, to Make Much
of Time”, pg. 510
Sir John Suckling’s “Song”, pg. 513