Ben Jonson spurred his horse headlong into the wind with reckless fury. The roan gelding summoned its strength, kicking crusts of dirt into the face of its portly rider, blurring his view of the countryside.
The perfunctory tone and imprecise wording of his patron’s summons had caused him to rush off from London on the fastest horse he could find. Had he provoked the official censors again? He had done so before and suffered for it. In the eyes of the government, he was a troublemaker and a known recidivist. Although King James had named him poet laureate, he wasn’t one to be deceived by royal honors, for he had lived long enough to see the mighty fallen and even the weapons of war perished.
As a playwright, he was considered a dangerous person, and he had plenty of reason to believe he was being watched at all times.
Riding frantically to Wilton House, Jonson shuddered to think that King James might be punishing his patrons for some inadvertent offense in one of his theater pieces; and that as its author, he would be the next in line at the gallows.
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