11 June 2017 Susannah

Ben Jonson – English poet, playwright and literary critic, born 11 June 1572

Ben Johnson quote by Susannah Fullerton

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Ben Jonson, born 11 June 1572

Benjamin Johnson by Abraham van Blijenberch

Benjamin Johnson by Abraham van Blijenberch

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 it back to me:
Since, when it grows and smells, I swear,
Not of itself but thee.

Ben Jonson’s poem To Celia is also known as Drink to me only with thine eyes, and it has been beautifully set to music.

You might like to listen to this moving recording of the song, sung by Johnny Cash.

Jonson was multi talented – poet, playwright, critic, wit and actor. He made the genre of comedy of humours popular on the English stage. I am not an expert on Jonson’s work, but have always felt envious of the man because he was lucky enough to have a friend called William Shakespeare. I love his tribute to Shakespeare, “He was not of an age, but for all time”.

Ben Jonson died on 6 August 1637, aged 65.

Share your thoughts in the comment area below.

   Ben Jonson Collection by Ben Jonson

I only recommend books I have read and know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.

Leave a comment.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until approved.


Body image credit- Benjamin Johnson by Abraham van Blijenberch – National Portrait Gallery. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6373212

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *