Shakespeare’s Facility of Expression

Introducing Shakespeare: A Graphic Guide - Nick Groom, Piero 2013

Shakespeare’s Facility of Expression

Ben Jonson (1572/3-1637) clearly enjoyed Shakespeare’s company …

“I lov’d the man, and doe honour his memory (on this side Idolatry) as much as any. Hee was (indeed) honest, and of an open, and free nature: had an excellent Phantsie; brave notions, and gentle expressions: wherein hee flow’d with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stop’d … His wit was in his owne power; would the rule of it had beene so too. Many times hee fell into those things, could not escape laughter.”


The criticism that he overwrote is endorsed by the editors of the Oxford edition (1988) of Shakespear’s works who have compared different printed versions of the plays. The shorter texts are revised texts, closer to the plays as acted, and have cut certain passages that Shakespeare wrote.