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            Ben Jonson


            Benjamin Jonson was born 1571 as the posthumous son of a Protestant minister. His mother then moved him to Westminster, where she married a bricklayer. He attended a free parish school as a boy, and thanks to the sponsorship of the headmaster, was able to attend Westminster Grammar School. Unofortunately, Ben lost his scholarship and was forced to take up bricklaying alongside his stepfather. This occupation did not appeal to him, and he left for military duty in Flanders and did not return to England until 1592. He married in 1594, and joined a touring acting company in 1597. Ben Jonson and another playwright then wrote a play called "Isle of Dogs" which was immediately banned on charges of sedition, and he and his friends found themselves in Fleet Prison. He was released after a few months and managed to restart his acting career. In December of 1598 he fought a duel with another actor named Gabriel Spencer; fortunately for Ben, he won, but unfortunately, he was imprisoned on charges of murder and given the death sentence. He managed to escape the gallows and returned to playwriting. He set out on foot in 1618 to visit Scotland and on his return began lecturing on rhetoric at colleges. He died in 1637 and was buried in Westminster Abbey; his epitaph reads: "O Rare Ben Jonson"