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  • Ben Jonson, considered by many to be England’s first Poet Laureate, wrote a play called The Alchemist about a group of swindlers featuring a charlatan alchemist. More than 200 years after Chaucer’s satire on alchemists in The Canterbury Tales, they were still the butt of literary jokes.

  • the butt of literary jokes---объект/мишень/цель литературных шуток