"the dark humour of Guido Cavalcanti"

Guido Cavalcanti was a thirteenth century Florentine poet and intellectual, a close friend of Dante.

Also mentioned in this paragraph are the following:

Henrik Ibsen was a nineteenth century playwright and poet from Norway, a founder of Modernism in theatre.

Ben Jonson was a Renaissance writer from England. A contemporary of Shakespeare, he is best known for plays such as Volpone and The Alchemist. 

The quote from Ben Jonson is from his Ode to Aurora:

I was not wearier where I lay

By frozen Tithon’s side tonight,

Than I am willing now to stay

And be a part of your delight.

But I am urgéd by the day,

Against my will, to bid you come away.