A love poem for St. Valentine's Day...
(Poem #340) 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 breathe, And sent'st back to me: Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, Not of itself, but thee.
There's a fine line between the romantic and the sentimental, and in 'To Celia', Jonson strays perilously close. Fortunately, he doesn't cross it, and that's what makes this lyric the classic that it is. thomas. [Minstrels Links] There's a Jonson biography and critical appraisal accompanying the charming 'Gypsy Songs', at poem #313