Song to Celia

Original Text: 
Ben Jonson, The workes of Benjamin Jonson (London: Will Stansby, 1616). STC 14751.
2      And I will pledge with mine;
3Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
4      And I'll not look for wine.
5The thirst that from the soul doth rise
6      Doth ask a drink divine;
7But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
10      Not so much honouring thee
11As giving it a hope, that there
12      It could not withered be.
14      And sent'st it back to me;
15Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
16      Not of itself, but thee.


1] This song is little more than a skilful cento of quotations from the love-letters of Philostratus, an obscure Greek sophist. Cf. Philostratus, Letter XXIV: "Drink to me with thine eyes only. Or, if thou wilt, putting the cup to thy lips, fill it with kisses, and so bestow it upon me." Back to Line
8] change for: give in exchange. Back to Line
9] Cf. Letter XXX: "I sent thee a rosy wreath, not so much honouring thee (though this also is in my thoughts) as bestowing favour upon the roses, that so they might not be withered." Back to Line
13] Cf. Letter XXXI: "If thou wouldst do a kindness to thy lover, send back the reliques of the roses I gave thee, no longer smelling of themselves only, but of thee." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
from Epicoene
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.154.