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An Excerpt from "The Witches' Song"
Ben Jonson


The owl is abroad, the bat, the toad,
And so is the cat-a-mountain;
The ant and the mole sit both in a hole;
And frog peeps out o' the fountain;
The dogs they bay, and the timbrels play;
The spindle is now a-turning;
The moon it is red, and the stars are fled;
But all the sky is a-burning.

This poem is in the public domain.



Ben Jonson (1573 - 1637) was born in London and is generally thought to be England’s first poet laureate. A well educated man, he explored first bricklaying, then soldiering, then acting as a career before becoming a playwright and poet. A contemporary of Shakespeare (Jonson’s assessment of Shakespeare was that he was "a naturally gifted writer who failed to discipline himself."), Jonson was an extremely successful and popular playwright himself. His strength was satire and comedy. But while his plays tended to be bold and controversial, Jonson’s poetry is typically gentle and introspective. Quite the party animal, Jonson’s volatile temper brought him several stints in prison, at least one fatal duel, and innumerable arguments.


Post New Comment:
This is a delightful piece of the whole, simply and effetively written, good use of language sounds. I will read the whole.
Posted 10/29/2019 03:49 PM
Inspired to read the entire poem.
Posted 10/29/2019 01:25 PM
Wilda Morris:
Could be a spell or a gypsy song or, yes, a witch's song. Larry is right - it is "vivid." Maybe I won't go out tonight if the moon is red!
Posted 10/29/2019 08:36 AM
Larry Schug:
Thanks for the Ben Johnson bio, Jayne and for this vivid poem.
Posted 10/29/2019 08:09 AM

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