PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: What did Ben Jonson mean by Lily?

What did Ben Jonson mean by Lily? 6 years 9 months ago #4921

  • Mike thomas
  • Mike thomas's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Senior Player
  • Posts: 65
Ref First Folio: In his "To the memory of my beloved author...." Ben Jonson refers to Shakespeare as "our Lily".

I am puzzled by this. Swan of Avon I can grasp, but "Lily"?

Perhaps this has some biblical meaning as in Song of Solomon "I am the lily of the vally.... " etc.

Anyone got any ideas?

regards all.

Many apologies for this stupid question. I should have read Jonson's text with lesse haste.

please ignore or remove.

regards
The administrator has disabled public write access.

What did Ben Jonson mean by Lily? 6 years 9 months ago #4922

  • Marcus Geduld
  • Marcus Geduld's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Neophyte
  • Posts: 6
Probably because it's white (e.g. pure), the lily became a symbol for the Virgin Mary to early Christians. This symbolic meaning gradually broadened to stand for saints in general. My guess is that Jonson means that Shakespeare is "our saint." He may also means that Shakespeare is pure -- not as in chaste, but as in " a pure artist" or "a perfect artist."

To the Elizabethans, lilies were medicinal, so he might also have meant that Shakespeare is "our medicine."

Finally, Elizabethan readers would have been well acquainted with the famous verse from Matt. 6:28-29:

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: What did Ben Jonson mean by Lily? 5 years 7 months ago #5230

  • Roger Stritmatter
  • Roger Stritmatter's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Neophyte
  • Posts: 2
He didn't say that. Here is the line:

And tell how far thou didst our Lily outshine,

Lily in this context refers to John Lyly, the popular court dramatist of the 1580s, and Jonson is saying that Shakespeare "outshines" Lyly.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: William Shakespeare
 

Log in or Register

Register
Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app