John Donne Poem

Dr. Donne’s Farewell to the World

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Farewell, you gilded follies, pleasing troubles!
Farewell, you honour’d rags, you crystal bubbles!
Fame’s but a hollow echo; gold pure clay;
Honour is but the darling of one day;
Beauty, the eyes’ idol, but a damask skin;
State but a golden prison to keep in
And torture freeborn minds; embroider’d trains
But goodly pageants, proudly-swelling veins;
Fame, riches, honour, state, trains, beauties, birth,
Are but the fading blessings of the earth.
I would be great, but see the sun doth still
Level his beams against the rising hill;
I would be rich, but see men too unkind
Dip in the bowels of the richest minds;
I would be fair, but see the champion proud,
The world’s fair eye, off setting in a cloud;
I would be wise, but that the fox I see
Suspected guilty when the ass is free;
I would be poor, but see the humble grass
Is trampled on by each unworthy ass.
Rich hated, wise suspected, scorn’d if poor;
Great fear’d, fair tempted, and high envied more.
Would the world now adopt me for his heir;
Would Beauty’s Queen entitle me the fair;
Fame speak me Honour’s minion; could I vie
The bliss of angels; with a speaking eye
Command bare heads, bow’d knees, strike Justicedumb
As well as blind and lame; and give a tongue
To stones by epitaphs; be called Master
In the loose lines of every poetaster.
Could I be more than any man that lives,
Rich, wise, great, fair, all in superlatives;
I count one minute of my holy leisure
Beyond too much of all this empty pleasure.
Welcome, pure thoughts! welcome, ye careless groans!
These are my guests, this is that courtage tones.
Ye winged people of the skies shall sing
Mine anthems; be my cellar, gentle spring.
Here dwells no hopeless loves, no palsy fears,
No short joys purchased with eternal tears;
Here will I sit, and sigh my hot youth’s folly,
And learn to affect a holy melancholy;
And if contentment be a stranger, then
I’ll never look for ‘t but in Heaven again.
And when I die I’ll turn my cave
Even from a chamber to a silent grave;
The falling spring upon the rock shall wear
Mine epitaph, and cause a briny tear
From him who asks who in this tomb doth lie.
The doleful Echo answers: It is I.

To the Blessed Virgin Mary
Love and Wit


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