chapter  10
19 Pages

Laureate

By an Act of 1 February 1616 King James granted to his 'well-beloved servant' a life pension of one hundred marks a year 'in consideration of the good and acceptable service done by him'. By this act Ben Jonson was created the first Poet Laureate in the history of the English monarchy. Jonson's play caused a disturbance at court, and once again he was, as he told Drummond, 'accused', informally, of venturing to censure the establishment. The first thing that Jonson was careful to ensure was the standard of the texts. With attentive proof-reading and correction he provided for succeeding ages excellent and reliable texts of all his major works. But Jonson's literary legacy was also prepared for the public with equal care given to non-literary factors. As a bibliophile he knew that the appearance of a book is as important as its contents.