It is an expansively lyrical moment and remarkable for its concern with the recollection of times past when the language of most of the characters in the play is preoccupied obsessively with the immediate present, the thisness of things and of people, which they each hope in the fullness of time to turn to their personal advantage.
I am, now, as fresh,
As hot, as high, and in as jovial plight
As when, in that so celebrated scene,
As recitation of our comedy,
For entertainment of the great Valois
I acted young Antinous; and attracted
The eyes and ears of all the ladies present,
T’ admire such graceful gesture, note and footing.
(III. vii. 157–64)1
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- 1.All references to Volpone relate to the text edited by Michael Jamieson in Three Comedies: Ben Jonson for the Penguin English Library (Harmondsworth, 1966; reprinted in Penguin Classics, 1985).Google Scholar
- 2.Ben Jonson, Volpone, edited by John Creaser (London, 1978), p. 23.Google Scholar
- 3.John Dennis in a letter to Congreve of 1695, cited in R. G. Noyes, Ben Jonson on the English Stage: 1660–1776 (Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., 1935, reissued New York and London: Benjamin Blom, 1966), p. 52.Google Scholar