Prologue: Verses Placed Over the Door at the Entrance Into the Apollo

by Ben Jonson

Welcome all who lead or follow
To the Oracle of Apollo—
Here he speaks out of his pottle,
Or the tripos, his tower bottle :
All his answers are divine,
Truth itself doth flow in wine.
Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers,
Cries old Sim, the king of skinkers;
He the half of life abuses,
That sits watering with the Muses.
Those dull girls no good can mean us;
Wine, it is the milk of Venus,
And the poet’s horse accounted:
Ply it and you all are mounted.
’Tis the true Phœbian liquor,
Cheers the brains, makes wit the quicker;
Pays all debts, cures all diseases,
And at once the senses pleases.
Welcome all who lead or follow,
To the Oracle of Apollo!


The Apollo is the room in The Devil & Saint Dunstan Tavern, close to Temple Bar, where Ben Jonson, arbiter bibendi, drinks with his friends, as Rbt. Herrick, Thos. Carew, Sir Will. Davenant, Will. Cartwright, &c. Poem read by Sven Stauple.
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