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The Short Fear
Ben Jonson


My awkward grossness grows: I go down, though

I maintain my self in the conviction
that I have as much to say as others
and more apposite ways of saying it

Certainly I feel it has all been said

The short fear is that even saying it
in my own way is equally pointless

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:
Janet Leahy:
Perfect timing for these words and this poet. Thanks Jayne.
Posted 11/12/2020 05:15 PM
Thank you, Jayne, for posting these words by Ben Jonson. Just like the masterly writer he is, he's spot on, his words reassuringly, bluntly, all these years later, telling us how painful it can be to write truthfully and how it has been ever thus...
Posted 11/12/2020 04:18 PM
and we've all been there, haven't we?
Posted 11/12/2020 11:34 AM
Jean Colonomos-1:
Thank you, Jayne, for evoking this eternal question. It doesn't meant you stop writing, but the doubt still lurks.
Posted 11/12/2020 11:21 AM
Gilbert Allen:
Yes, we have short fears--but we also have long hopes.
Posted 11/12/2020 09:24 AM
michael escoubas:
Jonson certainly seems to be taking the temperature of America in the present moment. Thoughtful post, Jayne. We look hopefully to better days ahead.
Posted 11/12/2020 08:57 AM
So ------ Ben, what's the point then?🤪 Randy
Posted 11/12/2020 08:56 AM
Jacqueline Jules:
Yes, absolutely relevant to writers today.
Posted 11/12/2020 08:40 AM

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