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I will no more abuse my vows to you,
Than I will study falsehood to be true.

O, that you could but by dissection see
How much you are the better part of me;
How all my fibres by your spirit do move,
And that there is no life in me, but love!
You would be then most confident, that though
Public affairs command me now to go

Out of your eyes, and be awhile away,
Absence or distance shall not breed decay.
Your form shines here, here fixed in my heart:
I may dilate myself, but not depart.
Others by common stars their courses run,
When I see you, then I do see my sun:
Till then 'tis all but darkness that I have;
Rather than want your light, I wish a grave.

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To make the doubt clear, that no woman's true,
Was it my fate to prove it full in you?
Thought I, but one had breathed the purer air,
And must she needs be false, because she's fair?
Is it your beauty's mark, or of your youth,
Or your perfection, not to study truth?
Or think you heaven is deaf, or hath no eyes?
Or those it has wink at your perjuries?
Are vows so cheap with women? or the matter

46 This elegy was printed in a 4to edition of Donne's Poems which came out in 1633.-G.

Whereof they're made, that they are writ in


And blown away with wind? or doth their breath,

Both hot and cold at once, threat life and death?
Who could have thought so many accents sweet
Tuned to our words, so many sighs should meet
Blown from our hearts, so many oaths and tears
Sprinkled among, all sweeter by our fears,
And the divine impression of stol'n kisses,
That sealed the rest, could now prove empty

Did you draw bonds to forfeit? sign to break?
Or must we read you quite from what you speak,
And find the truth out the wrong way? or must
He first desire you false, would wish you just?
O, I profane! though most of women be
The common monster, Love shall except thee,
My dearest love, however jealousy
With circumstance might urge the contrary.
Sooner I'll think the sun would cease to cheer
The teeming earth, and that forget to bear;
Sooner that rivers would run back, or Thames
With ribs of ice in June would bind his streams;
Or Nature, by whose strength the world endures,
Would change her
course, before you alter yours.
But, O, that treacherous breast! to whom

weak you,

Did trust our counsels, and we both may rue,

Having his falsehood found too late! 'twas he

That made me cast you guilty, and you me; Whilst he, black wretch, betrayed each simple word


We spake, unto the coming 7 of a third!

Cursed may he be, that so our love hath slain, And wander wretched on the earth, as Cain; Wretched as he, and not deserve least pity! In plaguing him, let misery be witty.

Let all eyes shun him, and he shun each eye,
Till he be noisome as his infamy;

May he without remorse deny God thrice,
And not be trusted more on his soul's price;
And after all self-torment, when he dies,
May wolves tear out his heart, vultures his eyes,
Swine eat his bowels, and his falser tongue,
That uttered all, be to some raven flung;
And let his carrion corse be a longer feast
To the king's dogs, than any other beast!
Now I have cursed, let us our love receive; 48
In me the flame was never more alive.
I could begin again to court and praise,
And in that pleasure lengthen the short days
Of my life's lease; like painters that do take
Delight, not in made works, but whilst they

I could renew those times when first I saw
Love in your eyes, that gave my tongue the law
To like what you liked, and at masques or plays,

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Commend the selfsame actors the same ways;
Ask how you did, and often with intent
Of being officious, grow impertinent;


All which were such lost 9 pastimes, as in these
Love was as subtly catched as a disease;
But, being got, it is a treasure sweet,
Which to defend, is harder than to get;
And ought not be profaned on either part,
For though 'tis got by chance, 'tis kept by art.


That love's a bitter sweet, I ne'er conceive,
Till the sour minute comes of taking leave,
And then I taste it: but as men drink up
In haste the bottom of a medicined cup,
And take some syrup after; so do I,
To put all relish from my memory

Of parting, drown it, in the hope to meet
Shortly again, and make our absence sweet.

This makes me, mistress, that sometimes by


Under another name, I take

your health,
And turn the ceremonies of those nights
I give, or owe my friends, into your rites;
But ever without blazon, or least shade

Of vows so sacred, and in silence made:

For though love thrive, and may grow up with


And free society, he's born elsewhere,

49 Soft. G.

And must be bred, so to conceal his birth,
As neither wine do rack it out, or mirth.
Yet should the lover still be airy and light,
In all his actions, ratified to sprite;
Not like a Midas, shut up in himself,
And turning all he toucheth into pelf,
Keep in reserved in his dark-lantern face,
As if that excellent dulness were love's grace:
No, mistress, no! the open, merry man
Moves like a sprightly river, and yet can
Keep secret in his channels what he breeds,
'Bove all your standing waters, choked with

They look at best like cream-bowls, and you soon
Shall find their depth; they're sounded with a


They may say grace, and for Love's chaplains


But the grave lover ever was an ass;

Is fixed upon one leg, and dares not come
Out with the other, for he's still at home;
Like the dull wearied crane, that, come on land,
Doth, while he keeps his watch, betray his stand;
Where he that knows will like a lapwing fly
Far from the nest, and so himself belie
To others, as he will deserve the trust
Due to that one that doth believe him just.
And such your servant is, who vows to keep
The jewel of your name as close as sleep
Can lock the sense up, or the heart a thought,

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