(Poem #1465) Come, My Celia
Come, my Celia, let us prove While we may, the sports of love; Time will not be ours forever; He at length our good will sever. Spend not then his gifts in vain. Suns that set may rise again; But if once we lose this light, 'Tis with us perpetual night. Why should we defer our joys? Fame and rumor are but toys. Cannot we delude the eyes Of a few poor household spies, Or his easier ears beguile, So removed by our wile? 'Tis no sin love's fruit to steal; But the sweet theft to reveal. To be taken, to be seen, These have crimes accounted been.
This poem, while clearly based on Catullus' fifth Song, is also more than a little reminiscent of Marlowe's "Passionate Shepherd" , from the rhymes used in the opening couplet to the underlying philosophy of 'carpe diem', seize the day . It seems likely that Marlowe, like Jonson, was inspired  by the Latin lyricist whose ode was the starting point for this week's theme. Note that I use the word 'inspired': unlike Richard Crashaw, or even Sir Walter Raleigh, who were both content to simply translate part or all of Catullus' song, Jonson introduces some significant changes of his own. Gone are the censurious old men and their scandal-mongering; gone also is the awkward business of mixing up three thousand three hundred kisses for purposes of deception. In their place is a new idea: that affairs themselves are are somehow less objectionable than their public display. In other words, Jonson's poem embodies the 11th commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Get Caught" <grin>. thomas.  Poem #997, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love -- Christopher Marlowe  See also: Poem #158, To His Coy Mistress -- Andrew Marvell Poem #633, Odes: Book 1, Verse 11 -- Horace Poem #1341, Carpe Diem, Baby -- James Hetfield  In response to yesterday's poem, John Taber wrote in with a very insightful and informative comment about how imitation was prized and originality deprecated in pre-Romantic poetry. You can read it, along with the Raleigh poem and commentary that prompted it, on the Minstrels website under Poem #1464.