John Donne.


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 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’st 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.

207   The Apparition

WHEN by thy scorn, O murd’ress I am dead,
And that thou thinkst thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, fain’d 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
Bath’d 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 threat’nings rest still innocent.

208   The Ecstasy

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 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 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

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