The Cues & All Library
Plays by William ShakespearePlays by Ben JonsonPlays by Christopher Marlowe

Plays and Masques by Ben Jonson

In 1616, Ben Jonson (eight years Shakespeare's junior) published a collection of his works, a move widely ridiculed due to the fact that in Jacobean England, plays had little to no literary value. That same year (the year of Shakespeare's death) he was given a lifetime pension by James I of England, becoming, in essence, the first Poet Laureate. Seven years later, Shakespeare's partners published his works in a single volume collection (generally referred to as the First Folio.)

Jonson was a popular poet and playwright, and worked often as an actor and playwright for Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later the King's Men.) He became fond of the emerging theatrical form of the Masque, a courtly drama that employed a great deal of spectacle... closer in heart to opera than a play. With his partnership with the great architecht and designer Inigo Jones, Jonson created many popular masques.

The following texts were culled from the University of Michigan, the Luminarium, and from Paul J. Dupuy, Jr.'s page. Nearly all of them are original spelling transcriptions from the quartos and folio.


Last updated: August 10, 2000