chapter  1
21 Pages

Boyhood

BenJonson was born on 11 June 1572. Apart from the date nothing else is known of his birth. No documentary evidence has been found, and the date itself has to be deduced from scraps of information about his later life. Jonson critics have been quick to seize upon this connection of the Westminster writer with the lurid annals of the blood-soaked Borders. Jonson's father is a figure of more substance than the shadowy Scots grandfather. In his adulthood Jonson prided himself not only on having a good natural endowment in this respect but also on having made the effort to cultivate it. And much of what Jonson's memory later returned to him 'readily, and without stops', as he liked to boast, was drawn from the boyhood storehouse which had been patiently crammed during the long hours of the Westminster day.