To Celia

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Jonson’s “Song: To Celia” is a short monologue in which a lover addresses his lady in an effort to encourage her to express her love for him. Jonson includes conventional imagery, such as eyes, roses, and wine, but employs them in inventive ways. As a result, the poem becomes a lively, expressive song extolling the immortality of love. John Addington Symonds, in his 1886 study of Jonson, calls the poem a masterpiece in its “purely lyric composition” and individuality. He concludes that Jonson’s lyrics “struck the key-note of the seventeenth century.” Illustrated by Renoir’s a detail from Renoir’s “Lunch on the Boat”

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