describes him thus.
He was (or rather had been) of a clear and faire skin; his habit was very plaine. I have heard Mr Lacy, the Player, say that he was wont to wear a coate like a coachman's coat, with slitts under the arme-pitts. He would many times exceed in drinke (Canarie was his beloved liquor) then he would tumble home to bed, and when he had thoroughly perspired, then to studie. I have seen his studyeing chaire, which was of strawe, such as olde woemen used, and as Aulus Gellius is drawen in.
Aubrey also mentions that Jonson had one eye lower than the other. Once he came upon women lamenting, and they told him it was a lawyer who was a kind and charitable man who had died. Amazed at this, Jonson extemporized this epitaph, the last line of which has become well known.
God works wonders now and then,
Behold a Miracle, deny't who can,
Here lies a Lawyer and an honest man.
Jonson's place in Poets' Corner
has already been mentioned by other noders. The small slab is well-known for having the surname spelt Johnson, not as we now spell it. Izaak Walton
, quoted by Aubrey because he knew Jonson, explains.
When B.J. was dyeing King Charles sent him but x pounds.
He lies buryed in the north aisle in the path of square stone (the rest is Lozenge) opposite to the Scutcheon of Robertus de Ros, with this Inscription only on him, in a pavement square of blew marble, about 14 inches square,
O RARE BENN JOHNSON
which was done at the charge of Jack Young, afterwards knighted, who, walking there when the grave was covering, gave the fellow eighteen pence to cutt it.