A Celebration of Charis: IV. Her Triumph

Original Text: 
Ben Jonson, The workes of Benjamin Jonson (London: R. Bishop, sold by A. Crooke, 1640). STC 14754. stc Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto). Also British Library copy as microfilmed in English Books 1475-1640. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms. P & R 14754 * 20250.
2      Wherein my lady rideth!
3Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
4      And well the car Love guideth.
5As she goes, all hearts do duty
6           Unto her beauty;
7And enamour'd, do wish, so they might
8           But enjoy such a sight,
9That they still were to run by her side,
10Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
11Do but look on her eyes, they do light
12      All that Love's world compriseth!
13Do but look on her hair, it is bright
14      As Love's star when it riseth!
15Do but mark, her forehead's smoother
16           Than words that soothe her;
17And from her arched brows, such a grace
18           Sheds itself through the face
19As alone there triumphs to the life
20All the gain, all the good, of the elements' strife.
21Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
22      Before rude hands have touch'd it?
23Ha' you mark'd but the fall o' the snow
25Ha' you felt the wool o' the beaver?
26           Or swan's down ever?
27Or have smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
29Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
30Oh so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she!


1] chariot ... Love. The description strongly suggests that Jonson has here in mind the elaborate spectacle and machinery of court masque. Herford and Simpson in their edition of Jonson conjecture that "Charis was probably the lady who played Venus ... in the masque, hitherto known as the Hue and Cry after Cupid, performed at Lord Haddington's marriage in 1608.'' Back to Line
24] smutch'd: smudged. Back to Line
28] nard: aromatic ointment made from spikenard. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.158.