Though I am young, and cannot tell”

By Ben Jonson 1572–1637 Ben Jonson
Though I am young, and cannot tell
    Either what Death or Love is well,
Yet I have heard they both bear darts,
    And both do aim at human hearts.
And then again, I have been told
    Love wounds with heat, as Death with cold;
So that I fear they do but bring
    Extremes to touch, and mean one thing.

As in a ruin we it call
    One thing to be blown up, or fall;
Or to our end like way may have
    By a flash of lightning, or a wave;
So Love’s inflamèd shaft or brand
    May kill as soon as Death’s cold hand;
Except Love’s fires the virtue have
    To fight the frost out of the grave.

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Poet Ben Jonson 1572–1637

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Desire

 Ben  Jonson

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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