Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
To Celia
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
DRINK 1 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        5
  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        10
As giving it a hope that there
  It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe
  And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,        15
  Not of itself, but thee!
 
Note 1. From The Forest, 1616. Mr. Quiller-Couch says: “It is one of Ben Jonson’s distinctions among English poets that he contrives to be most spontaneous when most imitative. This immortally careless rapture is meticulously pieced together from scraps of the Love Letters of Philostratus, a Greek rhetorician of the second century A.D.” (The Golden Pomp.) Compare Herrick’s Upon a Virgin Kissing a Rose, Hesperides, 144. [back]
 
 
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