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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

The Triumph of Charis

Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

SEE the Chariot at hand here of Love,

Wherein my Lady rideth!

Each that draws is a swan or a dove,

And well the car Love guideth.

As she goes, all hearts do duty

Unto her beauty;

And enamoured, do wish, so they might

But enjoy such a sight,

That they still were to run by her side,

Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.

Do but look on her eyes, they do light

All that Love’s world compriseth!

Do but look on her hair, it is bright

As Love’s star when it riseth!

Do but mark, her forehead’s smoother

Than words that soothe her!

And from her arched brows such a grace

Sheds itself through the face,

As alone there triumphs to the life

All the gain, all the good of the elements’ strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow

Before rude hands have touched it?

Have you marked but the fall of the snow

Before the soil hath smutched it?

Have you felt the wool of the beaver,

Or swan’s down ever?

Or have smelt o’ the bud o’ the brier

Or the nard in the fire?

Or have tasted the bag of the bee?

O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she!