A Celebration of Charis: IV. Her Triumph

By Ben Jonson 1572–1637 Ben Jonson
See the chariot at hand here of Love,
         Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
         And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
                Unto her beauty;
And enamour'd, do wish, so they might
                But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.

Do but look on her eyes, they do light
         All that Love's world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
         As Love's star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
                Than words that soothe her;
And from her arched brows, such a grace
                Sheds itself through the face
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good, of the elements' strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
         Before rude hands have touch'd it?
Ha' you mark'd but the fall o' the snow
         Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Ha' you felt the wool o' the beaver?
                Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
                Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
Oh so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she!

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Poet Ben Jonson 1572–1637


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Ben  Jonson


Ben Jonson’s “Song to Celia” is known to millions as “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.” Jonson was educated at the prestigious Westminster School in London. He took up acting, and by 1597 he was writing original plays. Jonson’s first widely acclaimed play, Every Man in His Humour, included William Shakespeare in its cast.

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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