James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

January 22

On Lord Bacon’s Birthday

By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

  • Francis Bacon was a celebrated philosopher, jurist, and statesman under Elizabeth and James I. He is generally, though erroneously, spoken of as Lord Bacon, his proper title being Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Albans. He was born Jan. 22, 1561.

  • HAIL, happy Genius of this ancient pile!

    How comes it all things so about thee smile?

    The fire, the wine, the men! and in the midst

    Thou stand’st as if some mystery thou didst!

    Pardon, I read it in thy face, the day

    For whose returns, and many, all these pray;

    And so do I. This is the sixtieth year,

    Since Bacon, and thy lord was born, and here;

    Son to the grave wise Keeper of the Seal,

    Fame and foundation of the English weal.

    What then his father was, that since is he,

    Now with a title more to the degree;

    England’s high Chancellor: the destined heir,

    In his soft cradle, to his father’s chair:

    Whose even thread the fates spin round and full,

    Out of their choicest and their whitest wool.

    ’Tis a brave cause of joy, let it be known,

    For ’twere a narrow gladness, kept thine own.

    Give me a deep crowned bowl, that I may sing,

    In raising him, the wisdom of my king.