188. The Triumph

Ben Jonson. 1573-1637

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 enamour'd 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 arch'd 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 touch'd it?
Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow
  Before the soil hath smutch'd it?
Have you felt the wool of 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!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition