O Rare, Ben Jonson?

Over Ben Jonson’s grave(or memorial) in Poet’s Corner in England, there is an engraving that says:

O Rare
Ben Jonson

They claims that no one is sure what it means. He died around 1637, so perhaps the meaning is lost to us. Does anyone know exactly what it means?

Could it actually mean that people like Jonson are rare? Doesn’t sound quite right, but maybe?

I think it’s from the latin, “Orare” meaning “pray”. But I’m not certain, and if you’re too lazy to look it up, I am too! :slight_smile:

My first thought was also that it was Latin and a possible gag by Jonson. After investigation however, I find the phrase comes from Jonson’s play, Bartholomew Fair and, if we accept the evidence at this site, it was inscribed at the request of one Jack Young.

What does it mean? My WAG is that Mr. Young chose it for several reasons. First, it was a quote from Ben himself. Second, “rare” can mean uncommon as well as excellent or extraordinary, all of which apply to Ben. And thirdly, if the stonecutter charged by the letter, it means Mr. Young was careful with his money.