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Song to Celia ("Drink to me only with thine eyes")

Song to Celia ("Drink to me only with thine eyes")


by Ben Jonson

Flowers and Plants

Symbol Analysis

The "rosy wreath," and the vocabulary that accompanies it, takes up a big part of the second half of the poem. The wreath is similar to a bouquet of flowers that you might give to your crush, but in the poem the speaker uses it in order to determine if Celia possesses the angelic or divine power to keep things living. The wreath is also a symbol in the poem of art itself, something carefully and skillfully created in much the same way as Jonson's poem.

  • Line 7: The speaker mentions Jove's "nectar" (a liquid that usually comes from plants). Although it is divine (nectar is the drink of the gods), the speaker uses it here as a symbol of an earthly or mortal beverage, as opposed to the "drink divine" (6) of Celia's love.
  • Line 9: The "rosy wreath" the speaker sends Celia is a symbol of art. Like the poem itself, it is carefully constructed.
  • Line 12: The speaker hopes the wreath won't "wither," which is what flowers and plants usually do when you pluck them.
  • Line 15: The speaker implies that the wreath is immortal because it still "grows," even though to make a wreath one must kill the flowers and/or leaves. Here, then, the "growing" wreath is a symbol of Celia's quasi-divine power.

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