Thursday, September 25, 2014

I first read this poem when I was 15, and I had no idea what Donne was trying to tell me. I think I have a better idea now.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

John Donne

As virtuous men passe mildly away,
            And whisper to their soules, to goe,
Whilst some of their sad friends doe say,
            The breath goes now, and some say, no:
So let us melt, and make no noise,
            No teare-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
T’were prophanation of our joyes
            To tell the layetie our love.

Moving of th’earth brings harmes and feares,
            Men reckon what it did and meant,
But trepidation of the spheares,
            Though greater farre, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers love
            (Whose soule is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
            Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love, so much refin’d,
            That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
            Care lesse, eyes, lips, and hands to misse.

Our two soules therefore, which are one,
            Though I must goe, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
            Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate.

If they be two, they are two so
            As stiffe twin compasses are two,
Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no show
            To move, but doth, if th’other doe.

And though it in the center sit,
            Yet when the other far doth rome,
It leanes, and hearkens after it,
            And growes erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to mee, who must
            Like th’other foot, obliquely runne;
Thy firmnes drawes my circle just,
           And makes me end, where I begunne.

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