It is not growing like a tree
In bulke, doth make man better bee ;
Or, standing long an Oake, three hundred yeare,
To fall a logge, at last, dry, bald, and seare :
A Lillie of a Day
Is fairer farre, in May,
Although it fall, and die that night ;
It was the Plant, and flowre of light.
In small proportions, we just beauties see :
And in short measures, life may perfect bee.
Pindaric Ode, and Pindar’s project, to “praise what deserves praise and to sow blame for wrong-doers.” To disorder the moral sensibility, and to reap profit from ill-educated appetite, seems the major work of contemporary culture. To have a refined sensibility, is the “PhD thing.” What Jonson proves, methinks, is that we can be “Ancients” and “Moderns.” The Ancient is still Modern when framed in plain, in plainest, English. Doing that, without the panoply of footnotes and allusions that baffle modern readers is not an academic exercise. Academics retreat into their coterie world, where everyone – all 100 in the world – have read the same syllabus. Finding an audience for a refined sensibility among those less refined or learned. Isn’t that the challenge that Jonson met in his prose, poetry, and drama?