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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
WILLIAM LORD CRAVEN,
BARON OF HAMSTED-MARSHAM.
MY LORD, Many of these poems have, for several impressions, wandered up and down, trusting (as well as they might) upon the author's reputation: neither do they now complain of any injury, but what may proceed either from the kindness of the printer, or the courtesy of the reader; the one, by adding something too much, lest any spark of this sacred fire might perish undiscerned ; the other, by putting such an estimation upon the wit and fancy they find here, that they are content to use it as their own; as if a man should dig out the stones of a royal amphitheatre, to build a stage for a country show. Amongst all the monsters this unlucky age has teemed with, I find none so prodigious as the poets of these later times, wherein men, as if they would level understandings too, as well as estates, acknowledging no inequality of parts and judgments, pretend as indifferently to the chair of wit as to the pulpit, and conceive themselves no less inspired with the spirit of poetry, than with that of religion: so it is not only the noise of drums and trumpets which have drowned the Muse’s harmony, or the fear that the church's ruin will destroy the priests’ likewise, that now frights them from this country, where they have been so ingeniously received ; but these rude pretenders to excellencies they unjustly own, who, profanely rushing into Minerva's temple, with noisome airs blast the laurel, which thunder cannot hurt. In this sad condition, these learned sisters are fled over to beg your lordship's protection, who have been so certain a patron both to arts and arms, and who, in this general confusion, have so entirely preserved your honour, that in your lordship we may still read a most perfect character of what England was in all her pomp and greatness. So that although these poems were formerly written upon several occasions to several persons, they now unite themselves, and are become one pyramid to set your lordship’s statue upon ; where you may stand, like armed Apollo, the defender of the Muses, encouraging the poets now alive to celebrate your great acts, by affording your countenance to his poems, that wanted only so
noble a subject.
your most humble servant,
Donne, the delight of Phæbns, and each Muse,
JOHN DONNE, D.D.
ARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that, which thou deny'st me, is; Me it suck'd first, and now sucks thee, And in this fea 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 pamper'd swells with one blood made of two, And this, alas! is more than we could do.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Go, and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me where all times past are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot. Teach me to hear mermaids singing, Or to keep off eavy's stinging,
What wind Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thon be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible go see,
Till age suow white hairs on thee. Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me All strange wonders, that befell thee,
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
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,
THE SUN RISING.
Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Sawcy pedantic wretch, go, chide
Late school-boys, or sour 'prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen, that the king will ride, WOMAN'S CONSTANCY.
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season, knows nor clime, Now thou hast lov'd me one whole day,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
Thy beams, so reverend and strong,
Dost thou not think
But that I would not lose her sight so long?
If her eyes have not blinded thine, Or, as true deaths true marriages untie,
Look, and to morrow late tell me, So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine Bind but till sleep, death's image, them uploose? Be where thou left them, or lie here with me; Or, your own end to justify
Ask for those kings, whom thou saw'st yesterday,
She 's all states, and all princes I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compar'd to this,
All honour 's mimic; all wealth alchymy;"
Thou Sun art balf as happy' as we,
In that the world 's contracted thus.
Shine bere to us, and thou art every where ;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy sphere. I wave done one braver thing,
Than all the worthies did;
“ I can love both fair and brown; It were but madness now t' impart The skill of specular stone,
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays;
(plays; When he, which can have learn'd the art
Her who loves loneness best, and her who sports and To cut it, can find none.
Her whom the country form'd, and whom the town;
Her who believes, and her who tries;
Her who still weeps with spungy 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? For he, who colour loves and skin,
Or have you all old vices worn, and now would find Loves but their oldest clothes.
out others ?
Or doth a fear, that men are true, torment you? If, as I bave, you also do
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 travail thorough you,
Grow your fix'd subject, because you are true ?" And if this love, though placed so,
Venus heard me sing this song,
And by love's sweetest skeet, variety, she swore, Which will no faith on this bestow,
She heard not this till now; it should be so no more. Or, if they do, deride:
She went, examin'd, and return'd 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."
We 'll build in sonnets pretty rooms.
As well a well-wrought urn becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs; FOR
And by those hymns all shall approve every hour that thou wilt spare me now,
Us canoniz'd for love:
And thus invoke us, you whom reverend' love
So made such mirrors, and such spies,
That they did all to you epitomize;
Countries, towns, courts, beg from above
A pattern of our love.
THE TRIPLE FOOL.
I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry ;
But where 's that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny? Thou covet most, at that age thou shalt gain;
Then as th' Earth's inward narrow crooked lanes Do thy will then, then subject and degree, And fruit of love, Love, I submit to thee;
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 number cannot be so fierce,
But when I have done so,
Doth set and sing my pain,
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
But not of such as pleases, when 't is read,
Both are increased by such songs : With wealth yourstate, your mind with arts improve, For both their triumphs so are published, Take you a course, get you a place,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three: Observe his honour or his grace,
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.
What merchant's ships have my sighs drown'd? If yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
Nor can entreat one other tear to fall;
And all my treasure, which should purchase thee, Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent; Litigious men, whom quarrels move,
Yet no more can be due to me, Though she and I do love.
Than at the bargain made was meant:
If then thy gift of love was partial,
Dear, I shall never have it all.
Or, if then thou giv'st me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then: By us, we two being one, are it:
But if in thy heart since there be, or shall So to one neutral thing both sexes fit.
New love created be by other men, We die and rise the same, and prove
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears, Mysterious by this love.
In sighs, in oaths, in letters outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears, We can die by it, if not live by love.
For this love was not vow'd by thee. And if unfit for tomb or hearse
And yet it was thy gift being general; Our legend be, it will be fit for verse ;
The ground, thy heart, is mine, whatever shall And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
Grow there, dear, I should have it all. VUL V.