126. Goodness of Heart indispensable to a Man of Genius.
"If men will impartially and not asquint look toward the offices and function of a poet, they will easily conclude to themselves the impossibility of any man's being a great poet without being first a good man."
Ben Jonson's Dedication to Volpone.
Ben Jonson has borrowed this just and noble sentiment from Strabo, lib. i. Ουκ οιον αγαθον γενεσθαι ποιητην, μη προτερον γενηθεντα ανδρα αγαθον.
127. Milton and Ben Jonson.
Those who have more faith in parallelism than myself, may trace Satan's address to the Sun in Paradise Lost to the first lines of Ben Jonson's Poetaster:
"Light! I salute thee, but with wounded nerves,
Wishing thy golden splendor pitchy darkness!"
But even if Milton had the above in his mind, his own verses would be more fitly entitled an apotheosis of Jonson's lines than an imitation.