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Song: To Celia by Ben Jonson


This poem is known as a masterpiece purely for its lyrical composition and its individuality. John Addington, in his 1886 study of Jonson, stated that Jonson's lyrics "struck the key-note of the seventeenth century." It is about unrequited love.

"Song: To Celia" is written in the rhyme scheme ABCBABCB in two stanzas made up of eight lines. Each stanza can be taken apart even further, into pairs of lines. The first line of each pair is made up of eight syllables and the second line is only made up of six. This works as a way to create slightly different ideas that still work with the rest of the stanza.


Song: To Celia

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
  And I will pledge with mine;	
Or leave a kiss but in the cup	
  And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
  Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
  I would not change for thine.	

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
  Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope that there
  It could not wither’d be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe
  And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
  Not of itself but thee!

Published in The Forest in .

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