Friday, July 2, 2010

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 withered be
But thou thereon didst only breath
And sent'st it back to me:
Since, when it grows and smells, I swear,
Not of itself but thee.


Ben Johnson wrote numerous songs. "Song to Celia" is an example of carpe diem poetry, as it reminds the reader to live and love since time and youth are fleeting. This concept can be traced to Roman classics, as in Horace's line, "Seize the day, trust tomorrow as little as possible."

Jonson's classical form in "Song to Celia" owes much to the classic poets of Rome and Greece. For example, the rhyme scheme is the classical abcbabcb.

Also note that "Song to Celia" is a very skillful poetic treatment of quotations from the love letters of the Greek writer, Philostratus.

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