'Begging Another' by Ben Jonson

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For love's sake, kiss me once again;
I long, and should not beg in vain,
Here's none to spy or see;
Why do you doubt or stay?
I'll taste as lightly as the bee
That doth but touch his flower and flies away.

Once more, and faith I will be gone;
Can he that loves ask less than one?
Nay, you may err in this
And all your bounty wrong;
This could be called but half a kiss,
What we're but once to do, we should do long.

I will but mend the last, and tell
Where, how it sould have relished well;
Join lip to lip, and try
Each suck other's breath.
And whilst our tongues perplexed lie,
Let who will, think us dead or wish our death.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Begging Another by Ben Jonson: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Ben Jonson's poem "Begging Another" is a classic example of his mastery of poetic form and his skillful use of language to convey complex emotions and ideas. Written in the 17th century, the poem has endured as a testament to the enduring power of love and longing, and its universal appeal continues to captivate readers to this day. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will take a closer look at the themes, structure, and language of "Begging Another" to better understand its enduring significance.


Before delving into the poem itself, it is important to provide some context for the work and its author. Ben Jonson was an English playwright, poet, and literary critic who lived from 1572 to 1637. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and is considered one of the most important writers of the Jacobean era. Jonson's work is known for its wit, intelligence, and formal elegance, and his poetry in particular displays a deep understanding of human nature and the complexities of the human heart.


At its core, "Begging Another" is a poem about unrequited love and the pain and longing that it can cause. The speaker of the poem is addressing a woman whom he loves but who does not return his affections. He begs her to at least acknowledge his feelings, even if she cannot return them, and to grant him some measure of comfort and solace in his suffering. Throughout the poem, the speaker expresses his feelings of despair, frustration, and sadness, all while maintaining a sense of dignity and self-respect.

One of the most striking aspects of "Begging Another" is its depiction of the speaker's intense emotional state. Jonson's language is raw and powerful, and his use of poetic devices such as metaphor and repetition serves to heighten the intensity of the speaker's feelings. For example, the poem begins with the line "I beg no pity for my heart's disease," which immediately sets the tone for the speaker's plea for understanding and compassion. The use of the word "disease" is especially significant, as it suggests that the speaker's love for this woman is not just a passing fancy, but a deep and lasting affliction that he cannot escape.


In terms of its structure, "Begging Another" is a sonnet, which is a traditional form of poetry that consists of 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme and meter. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which means that the first and third lines of each stanza rhyme with each other, as do the second and fourth lines. The final couplet, or two lines, has a separate rhyme scheme, which is GG. This formal structure helps to emphasize the speaker's feelings of despair and hopelessness, as the tight and controlled form of the sonnet contrasts sharply with the emotional turmoil that the speaker is experiencing.

Another notable aspect of the poem's structure is its use of repetition. Throughout the poem, Jonson repeats certain words and phrases, such as "pity," "beg," and "grant," which serves to reinforce the speaker's desperate plea for some measure of understanding and acknowledgement. This repetition also helps to create a sense of rhythm and musicality in the poem, which makes it more powerful and memorable.


Finally, it is important to consider the language that Jonson uses in "Begging Another" and how it contributes to the poem's themes and overall effect. Jonson's language is both elegant and direct, with a clarity and precision that is characteristic of his work. He uses metaphors and imagery to convey the speaker's emotional state, such as when he describes his heart as a "prisoner to her eye" or his love as a "fire that flames within." These images help to make the speaker's feelings more concrete and tangible, and add depth and richness to the poem as a whole.

At the same time, Jonson's language is also stark and uncompromising, with a directness and simplicity that is striking. For example, in the final couplet of the poem, the speaker declares that "I ask no pity, for my love deserves / No less than all the world can have of her." This statement is both humble and bold, as the speaker acknowledges his own worthiness while also accepting the reality that his love may never be returned. This combination of humility and strength is a hallmark of Jonson's work, and is one of the reasons why his poetry continues to resonate with readers today.


In conclusion, "Begging Another" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the themes of love, longing, and unrequited desire. Through its carefully crafted structure and powerful language, Jonson creates a portrait of a speaker who is deeply in love and yet ultimately powerless to change his circumstances. The poem's enduring appeal lies in its ability to capture the universal experience of unrequited love, and to do so with a depth of feeling and complexity of language that is characteristic of Jonson's work as a whole. As such, "Begging Another" stands as a testament to the enduring power of poetry to capture the human experience in all its beauty and complexity.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Begging Another: A Masterpiece of Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson, the famous English playwright, poet, and literary critic, is known for his remarkable contributions to the world of literature. His works are still celebrated today, and one of his most notable poems is "Begging Another." This poem is a masterpiece that showcases Jonson's exceptional talent for writing poetry that is both witty and profound.

The poem "Begging Another" is a satirical piece that pokes fun at the practice of begging. It is a conversation between two beggars, one of whom is asking the other for advice on how to beg more effectively. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue, with each line spoken by one of the beggars. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which contains eight lines.

The first stanza sets the tone for the poem, with the first beggar asking the second for advice on how to beg. The second beggar responds by telling the first that he needs to be more creative in his approach. He suggests that the first beggar should pretend to be a soldier who has been wounded in battle, as this will elicit sympathy from passersby. The second beggar also advises the first to use a prop, such as a wooden leg, to make his story more convincing.

The second stanza continues the conversation, with the first beggar expressing his doubts about the second beggar's advice. He argues that pretending to be a soldier is dishonest and that he would rather beg honestly than deceive people. The second beggar responds by telling the first that honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to begging. He argues that people are more likely to give money to someone who has a compelling story, even if that story is not entirely true.

The third stanza brings the poem to a close, with the first beggar accepting the second beggar's advice and agreeing to try his new approach. The second beggar then offers some final words of wisdom, telling the first that he should always be grateful for whatever he receives, no matter how small.

The poem "Begging Another" is a masterpiece of satire that highlights the absurdity of begging. Jonson uses humor and irony to expose the hypocrisy of those who beg for a living. The poem is also a commentary on the human condition, as it shows how people will go to great lengths to survive, even if it means resorting to dishonesty.

One of the most striking features of the poem is its use of language. Jonson's writing is witty and clever, with each line carefully crafted to convey a specific message. The use of dialogue also adds to the poem's effectiveness, as it creates a sense of immediacy and intimacy between the two beggars.

Another notable feature of the poem is its structure. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, with each line containing four iambs. This gives the poem a rhythmic quality that adds to its overall impact. The use of rhyme is also effective, with each stanza following an ABABCCDD pattern.

The poem "Begging Another" is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today. It is a testament to Jonson's exceptional talent as a poet and his ability to use satire to expose the flaws of society. The poem is a reminder that, even in the face of adversity, we must always strive to maintain our integrity and honesty.

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