Poems by John Donne
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 5
And perish in their infancy.
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, 5
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights, 10
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, 15
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know;
Such a pilgrimage were sweet. 20
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 25
False, ere I come, to two or three.
That Time and Absence proves
Rather helps than hurts to loves
ABSENCE hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength
Distance and length:
Do what thou canst for alteration
For hearts of truest mettle 5
Absence doth join and Time doth settle.
Who loves a mistress of such quality
His mind hath found
Beyond time place and all mortality. 10
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is present Time doth tarry.
My senses want their outward motion
Which now within
Reason doth win 15
Redoubled by her secret notion:
Like rich men that take pleasure
In hiding more than handling treasure.
By Absence this good means I gain
That I can catch her 20
Where none can watch her
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her
And so enjoy her and none miss her.
WHERE like a pillow on a bed
A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
The violet's reclining head
Sat we two one another's best.
Our hands were firmly c┬mented 5
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; 10
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 15
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. 20
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 waked'st me wisely; yet 5
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. 10
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 15
And knew'st my thoughts beyond an angel's art
When thou knew'st what I dreamt 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. 20
Coming and staying show'd 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 25
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 go'st to come: then I
Will dream that hope again but else would die. 30
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 5
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 10
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: except she meant that I
By this should know my pain 15
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. 20
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.
A Hymn to God the Father
WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun
Which was my sin though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin through which I run
And do run still though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done Thou hast not done; 5
For I have more.
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin and made my sins their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two but wallow'd in a score? 10
When Thou hast done Thou hast not done;
For I have more.
I have a sin of fear that when I've spun
My last thread I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself that at my death Thy Son 15
Shall shine as He shines now and heretofore:
And having done that Thou hast done;
I fear no more.
DEATH be not proud though some have call┬d thee
Mighty and dreadful for thou art not so:
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From Rest and Sleep which but thy picture be 5
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!
Thou'rt slave to fate chance kings and desperate men
And dost with poison war and sickness dwell; 10
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past we wake eternally
And Death shall be no more: Death thou shalt die!