Sons of Ben Poets and Principles


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Sons of Ben

The “Sons of Ben” refers to a group of poets who were followers and admirers of the English Renaissance poet Ben Jonson. Ben Jonson (1572–1637) was a prominent playwright and poet of the Jacobean era, known for his satirical wit and classical influences. The term “Sons of Ben” emerged as a colloquial designation for Jonson’s literary admirers and followers. These poets shared a common admiration for Jonson’s works and principles, and they formed a literary circle during the early 17th century. Here are some key points about the Sons of Ben:

List of Notable Sons of Ben:

  1. Robert Herrick (1591–1674): Known for his lyric poetry and his association with the Cavalier poets.
  2. Richard Lovelace (1617–1657): A Cavalier poet celebrated for his love lyrics and Royalist sentiments during the English Civil War.
  3. Thomas Carew (1595–1640): Another Cavalier poet, known for his graceful and witty verse.
  4. Sir John Suckling (1609–1642): A Cavalier poet and playwright, remembered for his light-hearted and humorous poetry.
  5. Thomas Randolph (1605–1635): A poet and playwright associated with the Jacobean and Caroline eras.

Term History:

  • The term “Sons of Ben” was not used during Ben Jonson’s lifetime. It is a later colloquial term that emerged to describe the group of poets influenced by Jonson’s literary style and principles.
  • Jonson was a central figure in the literary scene of the early 17th century and had a significant impact on the development of English drama and poetry.

Principles and Characteristics:

  • The Sons of Ben were characterized by their admiration for Ben Jonson’s classical learning, wit, and satirical style.
  • They valued classical influences in literature and sought to emulate Jonson’s use of classical forms and structures in their own poetry.
  • The poets associated with the Sons of Ben often displayed a wit and intellectualism in their works, drawing inspiration from Jonson’s emphasis on craftsmanship and precision in language.
  • While Jonson himself had a reputation for satire and criticism, the Sons of Ben, in their admiration, sometimes imitated his satirical tendencies.

The term “Sons of Ben” reflects a loose affiliation of poets who shared a common admiration for Ben Jonson and his literary principles. While the group may not have had a formal organization, the influence of Jonson’s works on these poets is evident in their writing style and thematic choices during the early 17th century.

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1 comment on “Sons of Ben Poets and Principles

    CAROLINE AGE – Wit Critic

    • February 8, 2024 at 1:36 pm

    […] Cavalier Poets were also called as Sons of Ben because they admired and were influenced by the poetry of Ben […]

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