Ben Jonson's 'To Penshurst', 1616 - the first 'country house poem'

David Lough

Ben Jonson first published To Penshurst in 1611. The poem compliments Robert Sidney, younger brother of Sir Philip Sidney and first earl of Leicester, on the Elizabethan extensions to the late mediaeval house at Penshurst and contrasts these with more recent buildings which he calls ‘proud, ambitious heaps’. The work contains many classical references including, in its opening lines, to Horace’s Ode and was imitated by subsequent poems including Aemilia’s Description of Cookham, Geoffrey Whitney’s Combermere Abbey Andrew Marvel’s Upon Appleton House.

 

 

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This page was added on 02/01/2016.

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