In our contemporary discourse, literacy and culture sometimes tend to be associated with the act of reading: What comes in through the ear, that organ of the Walkman, may be considered less reflective or intellectual. For Ben Jonson, writing this brilliant poem early in the 17th century, the opposite is true: the ear is the avenue of the spirit, while the eye is duped by mere seeming. What he means about the ear he demonstrates in sentences that skim and dance across the lines and rhymes, flamenco-style, or like Michael Jord an creating space where there was none.
I now thinke, Love is rather deafe, than blind,
For else it could not be,
Whom I adore so much, should so slight me,
And cast my love behind:
I'm sure my language to her, was as sweet,
And every close did meet
In sentence, of as subtile feet
As hath the youngest Hee,
That sits in shadow of Apollo's tree.
Oh, but my conscious feares,
That flie my thoughts betweene,
Tell me that she hath seene
My hundreds of gray haires,
Told seven and fortie yeares,
Read so much wast, as she cannot imbrace
My mountaine belly and my rockie face,
And all these through her eyes, have stopt her eares.