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Ben Jonson on Spectacle


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Because he links it to painting's expression, Ben Jonson calls "comic poetry" the most eminent form of verse to function as oratory:

The Poet is the neerest Borderer upon the Orator, and expresseth all his vertues, though he be tyed more to numbers; is his equall in ornament, and above him in his strengths. And, (of the kind) the Comicke comes neerest: Because, in moving the minds of men, and stirring of affections (in which Oratory shewes, and especially approves her eminence) bee chiefly excells. What figure of a Body was Lysippus ever able to forme with his Graver, or Apelles to paint with his Pencill, as the Comedy to life expresseth so many, and various affections of the minde? (Discoveries 2528-37; VIII, 640-41)1

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