In “To Penshurst,” what is included in Jonson's representation of an ideal community, and what is omitted?

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Jonson has included appealing descriptions of Penshurst and the nature around it. We read of birch and chesnut trees, of cattle and horses, and of grounds well stocked with purple pheasants, ponds overflowing with fish and eel, of plums, cherries, figs and other fruit, and then of a grand feast. Everyone is invited to the feast and everyone, rich and poor is amply fed. Hospitality is complete and thoughtful—everyone gets meat, and when the speaker goes to his room, he finds a fire and light, presumably from candles.

Penhurst is a place of order and moral virtue. It is not built for show, but is comfortable, generous, and unpretentious. It is a paradise, an Edenic setting.

What is left out is the hard labor it takes to makes such an orderly place function. It takes work to plant and harvest the crops, to clean the fish and fowl, and to get the feast prepared and on the table. The brutal work of the poor is eradicated from this paradise. Instead, we are told that any child can pick the apricots and peaches, while the "fat aged carps into thy net" and the eels "leap on land" from the pond. This is a highly idealized and unrealistic view of the agricultural economy.

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