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JOHN DONNE

1573-1631

205                                               Daybreak

STAY, O sweet, and do not rise!
The light that shines comes from thine eyes;
The day breaks not: it is my heart,
Because that you and I must part.
        Stay! or else my joys will die
        And perish in their infancy.

206                                                   Song

GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devils foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envys stinging,
                  And find
                  What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou best born to strange sights,
   Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
   Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou returnst, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
                  And swear
                  No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou findst 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.

207                                             The Apparition

WHEN by thy scorn, O murdress I am dead,
And that thou thinkst thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, faind 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 callst for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink,
And then poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bathd in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
            A verier ghost than I;
What I will say I will not tell thee now,
L 1000 est that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I had rather thou shouldst painfully repent,
Than by my threatnings rest still innocent.

208                                            The Ecstasy

WHERE, like a pillow on a bed,
   A pregnant bank swelld up, to rest
The violets reclining head,
   Sat we two, one anothers best.
Our hands were firmly càemented
   By a fast balm which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
   Our eyes upon one double string.
So to engraft 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 soulswhich to advance their state
   Were gone outhung 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 souls 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;
Loves 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.

209                                          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 fantasy.
Therefore thou wakedst me wisely; yet
My dream thou brokst not, but continuedst it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths and fables histories;
Enter these arms, for since thou thoughtst it best
Not to dream all my dream, lets act the rest.

As lightning, or a tapers light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise, waked me;
              Yet I thought thee
For thou lovst truthan angel, at first sight;
But when I saw thou sawst my heart,
And knewst my thoughts beyond an angels art,
When thou knewst what I dreamt, when thou knewst when
Excess of joy would wake me, and camst then,
I must confess it could not choose but be
Profane to think thee anything but thee.

Coming and staying showd thee thee,
But rising makes me doubt that now
              Thou art not thou.
That Love is weak where Fears 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 dealst with me.
Thou camst to kindle, gost to come: then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

210                                            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 heavn 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 dot: expect she meant that I
              By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled, when theyre condemnd to
    die.

Whateer she meant by t, bury it with me,
              For since I am
Loves 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.

211                                                     Death

DEATH, be not proud, though some have callàed thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go
Rest of their bones and souls delivery!
Thourt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellst thou then?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!

 

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