Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Venetian Song (from Volpone)
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
[From Volpone; or, The Fox (acted 1605), Act I. Sc. 6.]

COME, 1 my Celia, let us prove,
While we can, the sports of love.
Time will not be ours for ever;
He, at length, our good will sever;
Spend not then his gifts in vain:        5
Suns that set may rise again;
But if once we lose this light,
’Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumour are but toys.        10
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies?
Or his easier ears beguile,
Thus removèd by our wile?
’Tis no sin love’s fruits to steal;        15
But the sweet thefts to reveal,
To be taken, to be seen,—
These have crimes accounted been.
 
Note 1. Compare Catullus, Carmen V. The allusion (not taken from Catullus) in the concluding lines is to a famous Spartan law. [back]
 
 
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