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John Donne
Songs and Sonnets



Songs and Sonnets


Song I

Go, and catch a falling star,
   Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
   Or who cleft the Devil's foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
   Or to keep off envy's stinging,
      And find
      What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'est born to strange sights,
   Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
   Till age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
   All strange wonders that befell thee,
      And swear
      No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know;
   Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not; I would not go,
   Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
   And last, till you write your letter,
      Yet she
      Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Song II

Sweetest love, I do not go,
   For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
   A fitter love for me;
      But since that I
Must die at last, 'tis best,
To use my self in jest
   Thus by feigned deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
   And yet is here today,
He hath no desire nor sense,
   Nor half so short a way:
      Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
   More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man's power,
   That if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
   Nor a lost hour recall!
      But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
   Itself o'er us to'advance.

When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
   But sigh'st my soul away;
When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
   My life's blood doth decay.
      It cannot be
That thou lov'st me, as thou say'st,
If in thine my life thou waste,
   Thou art the best of me.

Let not thy divining heart
   Forethink me any ill;
Destiny may take thy part,
   And may thy fears fulfil;
      But think that we
Are but turned aside to sleep;
They who one another keep
   Alive, ne'er parted be.

The Good Morrow.

   I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
      Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then,
   But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
      Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den?
   'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
   If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

   And now good morrow to our waking souls,
      Which watch not one another out of fear;
   For love, all love of other sights controls,
      And makes one little room an every where.
   Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
   Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess our world, each hath one, and is one.

   My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
      And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
   Where can we find two better hemispheres
      Without sharp north, without declining west?
   What ever dies, was not mixed equally;
   If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Woman's Constancy.

Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
Tomorrow, when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
   Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?
Or that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
Or, as true deaths, true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose?
   Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change, and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
   Dispute, and conquer, if I would,
   Which I abstain to do,
For by tomorrow, I may think so too.

The Sun Rising.

      Busy old fool, unruly sun,
      Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
      Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
      Late school-boys, and sour 'prentices,
   Go tell court-huntsmen, that the King will ride,
   Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

      Thy beams, so reverend and strong
      Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
      If her eyes have not blinded thine,
      Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
   Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
   Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

      She'is all states, and all princes, I;
      Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honour's mimic; all wealth alchemy.
      Thou, sun art half as happy as we,
      In that the world's contracted thus;
   Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
   To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

The Indifferent.

I can love both fair and brown,
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
Her whom the country formed, and whom the town,
Her who believes, and her who tries,
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
I can love her, and her, and you, and you,
I can love any, so she be not true.

Will no other vice content you?
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
Or have you old vices spent, and now would find out others?
Or doth a fear, that men are true, torment you?
Oh we are not, be not you so;
Let me, and do you, twenty know.
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fixed subject, because you are true?

Venus heard me sigh this song,
And by Love's sweetest part, variety, she swore
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and returned ere long,
And said, «Alas, some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to 'stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you.»

Love's Usury.

For every hour that thou wilt spare me now
   I will allow,
Usurious God of Love, twenty to thee,
When with my brown, my gray hairs equal be;
Till then, Love, let my body reign, and let
Me travel, sojourn, snatch, plot, have, forget,
Resume my last year's relict: think that yet
   We had never met.

Let me think any rival's letter mine,
   And at next nine
Keep midnight's promise; mistake by the way
The maid, and tell the Lady of that delay;
Only let me love none, no, not the sport;
From country grass, to comfitures of Court,
Or city's quelque-choses, let report
   My mind transport.

This bargain's good; if when I am old, I be
   Inflamed by thee,
If thine own honour, or my shame, or pain,
Thou covet, most at that age thou shalt gain.
Do thy will then, then subject and degree,
And fruit of love, Love I submit to thee,
Spare me till then, I'll bear it, though she be
   One that loves me.

The Canonization.

For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
   Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five grey hairs, or ruined fortune flout;
   With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve;
      Take you a course, get you a place,
      Observe his Honour, or his Grace,
Or the King's real, or his stamped face
   Contemplate; what you will, approve,
   So you will let me love.

Alas, alas, who's injured by my love?
   What merchant's ships have my sighs drowned?
Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?
   When did my colds a forward spring remove?
      When did the heats which my veins fill
      Add one more to the plaguy bill?
Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
   Litigious men, which quarrels move,
   Though she and I do love.

Call us what you will, we are made such by love;
   Call her one, me another fly;
We are tapers too, and at our own cost die;
   And we in us find the eagle and the dove,
      The phoenix riddle hath more wit
      By us, we two being one, are it.
So to one neutral thing both sexes fit:
   We die and rise the same, and prove
   Mysterious by his love.

We can die by it, if not live by love,
   And if unfit for tombs and hearse
Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;
   And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
      We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms;
      As well a well wrought urne becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs;
   And by these hymns all shall approve
   Us canonized for love:

And thus invoke us: «You whom reverend love
   Made one another's hermitage;
You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
   Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove
      Into the glasses of your eyes
      (So made such mirrors, and such spies,
That they did all to you epitomize,)
   Countries, towns, courts: beg from above
   A pattern of your love!»

The Triple Fool.

   I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
   In whining poetry;
But where's that wiseman that would not be I,
   If she would not deny?
Then, as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
   I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

   But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
   Doth set and sing my pain,
And, by delighting many, frees again
   Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read;
   Both are increased by such songs:
For both their triumphs so are published;
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Lovers' Infiniteness.

If yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
Nor can intreat one other tear to fall.
And all my treasure, which should purchase thee,
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent,
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant.
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
   Dear, I shall never have thee all.

Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then;
But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall
New love created be, by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters, outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For, this love was not vowed by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general,
The ground, thy heart, is mine; whatever shall
   Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet,
He that hath all can have no more;
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
If thou canst give it, then thou never gav'st it:
Love's riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing sav'st it:
But we will have a way more liberal,
Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall
   Be one, and one another's all.

Air and Angels.

Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,
Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be;
   Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see,
   But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
   More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too,
   And therefore what thou wert, and who
      I bid love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love, I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw, I had love's pinnace overfraught,
   Every thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
   For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere;
   Then as an angel, face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
   So thy love may be my love's sphere;
      Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love, and men's will ever be.

Break of Day.

'Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because 'tis light?
Did we lie down, because 'twas night?
Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst, that it could say,
That being well, I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honour so,
That I would not from her, that had them, go.

Must business thee from hence remove?
Oh, that's the worst disease of love,
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

Confined Love.

   Some man unworthy to be possessor
Of old or new love, himself being false or weak,
   Thought his pain and shame would be lesser
If on womankind he might his anger wreak,
   And thence a law did grow,
   One should but one man know;
   But are other creatures so?

   Are sun, moon, or stars by law forbidden,
To smile where they list, or lend away their light?
   Are birds divorced, or are they chidden
If they leave their mate, or lie abroad a-night?
   Beasts do no jointures lose
   Though they new lovers choose,
   But we are made worse than those.

   Who e'er rigged fair ship to lie in harbours
And not to seek new lands, or not to deal withal?
   Or built fair houses, set trees, and arbours,
Only to lock up, or else to let them fall?
   Good is not good, unless
   A thousand it possess,
   But dost waste with greediness.

The Dream.

Dear love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream,
   It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for phantasy:
Therefore thou waked'st me wisely; yet
My dream thou brok'st not, but continued'st it;
Thou art so true, that thoughts of thee suffice,
To make dreams truths, and fables histories;
Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,
Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.

As lightning or a taper's light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise, waked me;
   Yet I thought thee
(For thou lov'st truth) an angel, at first sight,
But when I saw thou saw'st my heart,
And knew'st my thoughts, beyond an angel's art,
When thou knew'st what I dreamed, when thou knew'st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and cam'st then,
I must confess, it could not choose but be
Profane, to think thee anything but thee.

Coming and staying showed thee, thee,
But rising makes me doubt, that now
   Thou art not thou.
That love is weak, where fear's as strong as he;
'Tis not all spirit, pure, and brave,
If mixture it of fear, shame, honour, have.
Perchance as torches which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me,
Thou cam'st to kindle, goest to come; then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

A Valediction: Of Weeping.

   Let me pour forth
My tears before thy face, whilst I stay here,
For thy face coins them, and thy stamp they bear,
And by this mintage they are something worth,
   For thus they be
   Pregnant of thee;
Fruits of much grief they are, emblems of more;
When a tear falls, that thou falls which it bore,
So thou and I are nothing then, when on a divers shore.

   On a round ball
A workman that hath copies by, can lay
An Europe, Afric, and an Asia,
And quickly make that, which was nothing, all;
   So doth each tear,
   Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world by that impression grow,
Till thy tears mixed with mine do overflow
This world, by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolved so.

   O more than moon,
Draw not up seas to drown me in thy sphere,
Weep me not dead, in thine arms, but forbear
To teach the sea, what it may do too soon;
   Let not the wind
   Example find,
To do me more harm, than it purposeth;
Since thou and I sigh one another's breath,
Whoe'er sighs most, is cruellest, and hastes the other's death.

Love's Alchemy.

Some that have deeper digged love's mine than I,
Say, where his centric happiness doth lie:
      I have loved, and got, and told,
But should I love, get, tell, till I were old,
I should not find that hidden mystery;
      Oh, 'tis imposture all:
And as no chemic yet the elixir got,
      But glorifies his pregnant pot,
      If by the way to him befall
Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal,
   So, lovers dream a rich and long delight,
   But get a winter-seeming summer's night.

Our ease, our thrift, our honour, and our day,
Shall we, for this vain bubble's shadow pay?
      Ends love in this, that my man,
Can be as happy'as I can; if he can
Endure the short scorn of a bridegroom's play?
      That loving wretch that swears,
'Tis not the bodies marry, but the minds,
      Which he in her angelic finds,
   Would swear as justly, that he hears,
In that day's rude hoarse minstrelsy, the spheres.
Hope not for mind in women; at their best
   Sweetness and wit, they are but mummy, possessed.

The Flea.

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deny'st me is;
Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be;
Confess it, this cannot be said
A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead,
   Yet this enjoys before it woo,
   And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
   And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, we'are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
   Though use make you apt to kill me,
   Let not to this, self murder added be,
   And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
In what could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself, nor me the weaker now;
   'Tis true, then learn how false fears be;
   Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
   Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day,
being the shortest day.

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
   The sun is spent, and now his flasks
   Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
      The world's whole sap is sunk:
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interred; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring:
   For I am every dead thing,
   In whom love wrought new alchemy.
      For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruined me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death; things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
   I, by love's limbeck, am the grave
   Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
      Have we two wept, and so
Drowned the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcases.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
   Were I a man, that I were one
   I needs must know; I should prefer,
      If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake, the lesser sun
   At this time to the Goat is run
   To fetch new lust, and give it you,
      Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.

The Bait.

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.

There will the river whispering run
Warmed by thy eyes, more than the sun.
And there the'enamoured fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath
Each fish, which every channel hath,
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou to be so seen be'st loth
By sun or moon, thou darkenest both,
And if myself have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset
With strangling snare, or windowy net:

Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
Or curious traitors, sleave-silk flies
Bewitch poor fishes' wandering eyes.

For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait;
That fish that is not catched thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.

The Apparition.

When by thy scorn, O murderess, I am dead,
And that thou think'st thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feigned vestal, in worse arms shall see;
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tired before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
   Thou call'st for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink,
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bathed in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
   A verier ghost than I;
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I had rather thou shouldst painfully repent,
Than by my threatenings rest still innocent.

A Valediction: forbidding Mourning.

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
   The breath goes now, and some say, no:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
'Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
   Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
   Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
   Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
   That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
   Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
   Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
   As stiff twin compasses are two,
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the'other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
   Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
   And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
   Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
   And makes me end, where I begun.

The Ecstasy.

Where, like a pillow on a bed,
   A pregnant bank swelled up, to rest
The violet's reclining head,
   Sat we two, one another's best;

Our hands were firmly cemented
   With a fast balm, which thence did spring,
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
   Our eyes, upon one double string;

So to' intergraft our hands, as yet
   Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
   Was all our propagation.

As 'twixt two equal armies, Fate
   Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls, (which to advance their state
   Were gone out), hung 'twixt her, and me.

And whilst our souls negotiate there,
   We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
   And we said nothing, all the day.

If any, so by love refined,
   That he soul's language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
   Within convenient distance stood,

He (though he knew not which soul spake,
   Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take,
   And part far purer than he came.

This ecstasy doth unperplex
   (We said) and tell us what we love,
We see by this, it was not sex,
   We see, we saw not what did move:

But as all several souls contain
   Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love, these mixed souls doth mix again,
   And makes both one, each this and that.

A single violet transplant,
   The strength, the colour, and the size,
(All which before was poor, and scant,)
   Redoubles still, and multiplies.

When love, with one another so
   Interinanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
   Defects of loneliness controls.

We then, who are this new soul, know,
   Of what we are composed and made,
For, th' atomies of which we grow,
   Are souls, whom no change can invade.

But O alas, so long, so far
   Our bodies why do we forbear?
They are ours, though they are not we, we are
   The intelligences, they the sphere.

We owe them thanks, because they thus,
   Did us, to us, at first convey,
Yielded their forces, sense, to us,
   Nor are dross to us, but allay.

On man heavens' influence works not so,
   But that it first imprints the air,
So soul into the soul may flow,
   Though it to body first repair.

As our blood labours to beget
   Spirits, as like souls as it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
   That subtle knot, which makes us man:

So must pure lovers' souls descend
   T' affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
   Else a great prince in prison lies.

To our bodies turn we then, that so
   Weak men on love revealed may look;
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
   But yet the body is his book.

And if some lover, such as we,
   Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us, he shall see
   Small change, when we'are to bodies gone.

Love's Deity.

I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
   Who died before the god of love was born:
I cannot think that he, who then loved most,
   Sunk so low, as to love one which did scorn.
But since this god produced a destiny,
And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be;
   I must love her, that loves not me.

Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much,
   Nor he in his young godhead practised it.
But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
   His office was indulgently to fit
Actives to passives. Correspondency
Only his subject was; it cannot be
   Love, till I love her, that loves me.

But every modern god will now extend
   His vast prerogative, as far as Jove.
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
   All is the purlieu of the god of love.
Oh were we wakened by this tyranny
To ungod this child again, it could not be
   I should love her, who loves not me.

Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I,
   As though I felt the worst that love could do?
Love might make me leave loving, or might try
   A deeper plague, to make her love me too;
Which, since she loves before, I am loth to see.
Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be,
   If she whom I love, should love me.

The Funeral.

Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
   Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm;
The mystery, the sign you must not touch,
   For 'tis my outward soul,
Viceroy to that which, unto heav'n being gone,
   Will leave this to control
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.

For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
   Through every part
Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
Those hairs, which upward grew, and strength and art
   Have from a better brain,
Can better do't: expect she meant that I
   By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled, when they're condemn'd to die.

Whate'er she meant by 't, bury it with me,
   For since I am
Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry
If into other hands these reliques came.
   As 'twas humility
T' afford to it all that a soul can do,
   So 'tis some bravery
That, since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.

The Primrose.

   Upon this primrose hill,
   Where, if heaven would distil
A shower of rain, each several drop might go
To his own primrose, and grow manna so;
And where their form and their infinity
   Make a terrestrial galaxy,
   As the small stars do in the sky:
I walk to find a true love; and I see
That 'tis not a mere woman, that is she,
But must, or more, or less than woman be.

   Yet know I not, which flower
   I wish; a six, or four;
For should my true love less than woman be
She were scarce anything; and then, should she
Be more than woman, she would get above
   All thought of sex, and think to move
   My heart to study her, and not to love;
Both these were monsters; since there must reside
Falsehood in woman, I could more abide,
She were by art than nature falsified.

   Live primrose then, and thrive
   With thy true number, five;
And woman, whom this flower doth represent,
With this mysterious number be content;
Ten is the farthest number; if half ten
   Belong unto each woman, then
   Each woman may take half us men;
Or if this will not serve their turn, since all
Numbers are odd, or even, and they fall
First into this, five, woman may take us all.

The Relic.

   When my grave is broke up again
   Some second guest to entertain,
   (For graves have learned that woman-head
   To be to more than one a bed)
      And he that digs it, spies
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone,
      Will he not let us alone,
And think that there a loving couple lies,
Who thought that this device might be some way
To make their souls, at the last busy day,
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?

   If this fall in a time, or land,
   Where mis-devotion doth command,
   Then he, that digs us up, will bring
   Us to the Bishop, and the King,
      To make us relics; then
Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I
      A something else thereby;
All women shall adore us, and some men;
And since at such time miracles are sought,
I would have that age by this paper taught
What miracles we harmless lovers wrought.

   First, we loved well and faithfully,
   Yet knew not what we loved, nor why,
   Difference of sex no more we knew,
   Than our guardian angels do;
      Coming and going, we
Perchance might kiss, but not between those meals;
      Our hands ne'er touched the seals,
Which nature, injured by late law, sets free:
These miracles we did; but now alas,
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.

The Damp.

When I am dead, and doctors know not why,
   And my friends' curiosity
Will have me cut up to survey each part,
When they shall find your picture in my heart,
   You think a sudden damp of love
   Will through all their senses move,
And work on them as me, and so prefer
Your murder, to the name of massacre.

Poor victories; but if you dare be brave,
   And pleasure in your conquest have,
First kill th' enormous giant, your Disdain,
And let th' enchantress Honour next be slain,
   And like a Goth and Vandal rise,
   Deface records, and histories
Of your own arts and triumphs over men,
And without such advantage kill me then.

For I could muster up as well as you
   My giants, and my witches too,
Which are vast Constancy, and Secretness,
But these I neither look for, nor profess;
   Kill me as woman, let me die
   As a mere man; do you but try
Your passive valour, and you shall find then,
Naked you have odds enough of any man.

The Dissolution.

She's dead; and all which die
   To their first elements resolve;
And we were mutual elements to us,
      And made of one another.
   My body then doth hers involve,
And those things whereof I consist, hereby
In me abundant grow, and burdenous,
      And nourish not, but smother.
   My fire of passion, sighs of air,
Water of tears, and earthy sad despair,
      Which my materials be,
But near worn out by love's security,
She, to my loss, doth by her death repair,
   And I might live long wretched so
But that my fire doth with my fuel grow.
      Now as those active kings
   Whose foreign conquest treasure brings,
Receive more, and spend more, and soonest break:
This (which I am amazed that I can speak)
   This death, hath with my store
      My use increased.
And so my soul more earnestly released,
Will outstrip hers; as bullets flown before
A latter bullet may o'ertake, the powder being more.

The Prohibition.

      Take heed of loving me,
At least remember, I forbade it thee;
   Not that I shall repair my unthrifty waste
Of breath and blood, upon thy sighs and tears,
   By being to thee then what to me thou wast;
But, so great joy, our life at once outwears,
   Then, lest thy love, by my death, frustrate be,
   If thou love me, take heed of loving me.

      Take heed of hating me,
Or too much triumph in the victory.
   Not that I shall be mine own officer,
And hate with hate again retaliate;
   But thou wilt lose the style of conqueror,
If I, thy conquest, perish by thy hate.
   Then, lest my being nothing lessen thee,
   If thou hate me, take heed of hating me.

      Yet, love and hate me too,
So, these extremes shall neither's office do;
   Love me, that I may die the gentler way;
Hate me, because thy love's too great for me;
   Or let these two, themselves, not me decay;
So shall I live thy stage, not triumph be;
   Lest thou thy love and hate and me undo,
   To let me live, Oh love and hate me too.

A Lecture upon the Shadow.

Stand still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, love, in love's philosophy.
      These three hours that we have spent,
      Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produced;
But, now the sun is just above our head,
      We do those shadows tread;
      And to brave clearness all things are reduced.
   So whilst our infant loves did grow,
   Disguises did, and shadows, flow,
   From us, and our cares; but now 'tis not so.

That love has not attained the high'st degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
      As the first were made to blind
      Others; these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westwardly decline;
      To me thou, falsely, thine,
      And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
   The morning shadows wear away,
   But these grow longer all the day;
   But oh, love's day is short, if love decay.

Love is a growing, or full constant light;
And his first minute, after noon, is night.

Self Love.

He that cannot choose but love,
   And strives against it still,
Never shall my fancy move;
   For he loves 'gainst his will;

Nor he which is all his own,
   And can at pleasure choose,
When I am caught he can be gone,
   And when he list refuse.

Nor he that loves none but fair,
   For such by all are sought;
Nor he that can for foul ones care,
   For his judgement then is naught:

Nor he that hath wit, for he
   Will make me his jest or slave;
Nor a fool, for when others . . .
   He can neither . . . .

Nor he that still his mistress pays,
   For she is thralled therefore:
Nor he that pays not, for he says
   Within she's worth no more.

Is there then no kind of men
   Whom I may freely prove?
I will vent that humour then
   In mine own self love.
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