Song: to Celia [“Drink to me only with thine eyes”] vs. She Walks In Beauty

Song: to Celia [“Drink to me only with thine eyes”] by Ben Jonson

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.

She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron (George Gordon)

She walks in beauty, like the night

  Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

  Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

  Which heaven to gaudy day denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,

  Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

  Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express,

  How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.


And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

  So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

  But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

  A heart whose love is innocent!




The topic of love and beauty are the linking factors of the poems above, and this entry will be a comparison of these two similar pieces. Both of these poems are widely renowned for its eloquence and evident emotion in the verses while possessing simplicity and purity despite using complex metaphors and symbolism. Similar to my previous entries, both of these poems were taken off a list provided by my English teacher.

‘Song: To Celia (Drink To Me With Only Thine Eyes)’ speaks of a woman, we can assume she is Celia according to the title, who is considered immortal and divine in the speaker’s eyes. Said speaker sends a wreath of flowers to this lover, in hopes that “it could not withered be”. However, the lover returns the wreath to the speaker, ruining his original plans but accomplishing his goal of allowing the wreath to live; the lover breathed on the wreath and made the wreath ‘immortal’ as well. As a result of her breath, the wreath made of plucked flowers and leaves was able to bloom, grow and flourish again. Although short, ‘Song: To Celia (Drink To Me With Only Thine Eyes)’ manages to give the reader a good idea of the speaker’s love and admiration for ‘Celia’. He compares her to something divine and immortal, and demonstrates her power with the making immortal of a wreath of dead plants. The speaker portrays ‘Celia’ as someone who is extremely desirable (ex. Lines 3-4: ‘Or leave a kiss but in the cup  | And I’ll not look for wine.’) and influential (ex. Lines 15-16: ‘Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, | Not of itself, but thee.’)– a seemingly perfect woman. This leads the reader to ponder whether this Celia is mortal or immortal; no such human has been known to possess such captivating charms as well as a magical ability to revive dead organisms.

‘She Walks In Beauty’ describes the beauty of an unnamed woman; the speaker compares this woman’s beauty to the night and the day, describes her face as pure and her heart good and innocent. It is evident in this piece that the speaker has a great affection for the woman, and uses a variety of poetic devices to express her beauty to the reader. Alliteration (ex. Line 2: “Of cloudless climes and starry skies’), contradiction (ex. Line 3: “And all that’s best of dark and bright”), personification (ex. Line 6: “ Which heaven to gaudy day denies.”) and more are eloquently interwoven throughout the piece for an easy reading and smoother flow. Gordon managed to paint a clear image of the woman in my mind, and I could imagine the beauty of this mysterious woman that he tells of.

These two poems are quite similar, in the way that both poets have constructed poems of another woman’s beauty. Both poems show evident affection and adoration for their respective woman, and both make use of metaphors, symbolism and other literary devices to describe the extent of the woman’s beauty to the reader. While ‘Song: To Celia (Drink To Me With Only Thine Eyes)’ compares ‘Celia’ to a divine and immortal creature to describe her elegance and power, ‘She Walks In Beauty’ uses the contrast between night and day to emphasize the woman’s magnificence and innocence. Both pieces effectively portray the image of a strong and independent woman whose possess a pure heart and a compelling presence.


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