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Rare Ben

So Shakespeare called Ben Jonson, the dramatist. (1574-1637.) Aubrey says that this inscription on his tablet in the “Poets' Corner,” Westminster Abbey, “was done at the charge of Jack Young (afterwards knighted), who, walking there when the grave was covering, gave the fellow eighteenpence to cut it.” At the late relaying of the pavement, this stone was unhappily removed. When Sir William Davenant was interred in Westminster Abbey, the inscription on his covering-stone was, “O rare Sir William Davenant”- showing how nearly the sublime and the ridiculous often meet.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Rare Ben from Infoplease:

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