O rare Ben Jonson, you who wrote
Presager of that later note,
To you, rare Ben, our hat we raise
For all your poems and your plays.
You knew, forsooth, if Shakespeare’s work
Like copies by a scrawling clerk,
You would have known of that flimflam
Without a hidden cryptogram.
O rare Ben Jonson, with your pen
And with brave lords and gentlemen
You never turned out feeble farce
In sentences that would not parse.
To managers you ne’er were made
And, Ben, you never called a spade
Where you wrote sentences risqué
We now have costumes very gay.
O rare Ben Jonson, when you asked
To drink, her name you never masked
Nor did you call her “Creole Belle”
Or half the song names we might tell.
“Drink to me only with thine eyes!”
Showed you no steins of any size
But from the way the stanzas run,
You, rare Ben Jonson, were well done.