by: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
- OOR Poet-Ape,
that would be thought our chief,
- Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
- From brokage is become so bold a thief,
- As we, the robbed, leave rage, and pity it.
- At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
- But the reversion of old plays; now grown
- To a little wealth and credit in our scene,
- He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own.
- And told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
- The sluggish, gaping auditor devours;
- He marks not whose 'twas first, and after-times
- May judge it to be his as well as ours.
- Fool, as if half-eyes will not know a fleece
- From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece!
POEMS BY BEN JONSON
"On Poet-Ape" is reprinted
from Epigrams (1616).