Ben Jonson (1572–1637) is a literary figure whose impact on English poetry and stage comedy has endured through the ages. Born nine years after Shakespeare, he was an actor in Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy and wrote plays for Philip Henslowe. His artistry occupies a significant place in stage comedy, popularized in satires like Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone (1606), and The Alchemist (1610). Later dramatists’ use of type names—Pinchwife, Petulant, Witwould—harkens back to Johnson. For decades Jonson scripted spectacles, called “masques” for the court, to be performed by the royal family.