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Hymn to the Belly
by
Ben Jonson


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Room! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught 'em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He's made of himself that now he cries swag;
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!
All which have now made thee so wide i' the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break'st all thy girdles and break'st forth a god.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
Well chosen!!!!
Posted 11/25/2016 06:26 AM
Katrina:
'Art hath an enemy called Ignorance.' - Ben Jonson. I like the idea of not marginalising art in favour of science.
Posted 11/25/2016 04:13 AM


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