John Donne Poem

Elegy (‘That I might make your cabinet’)

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That I might make your cabinet my tomb,
And for my fame which I love next my soul,
Next to my soul provide the happiest room,
Admit to that place this last funeral scroll.
Others by wills give legacies, but I
Dying, of you do beg a legacy.

My fortune and my choice this custom break,
When we are speechless grown, to make stones speak,
Though no stone tell thee what I was, yet thou
In my grave’s inside seest what thou art now:
Yet thou’art not yet so good, till death us lay
To ripe and mellow here, we are stubborn clay.
Parents make us earth, and souls dignify
Us to be glass; here to grow gold we lie.
Whilst in our souls sin bred and pampered is,
Our souls become worm-eaten carcases;
So we ourselves miraculously destroy.
Here bodies with less miracle enjoy
Such privileges, enabled here to scale
Heaven, when the trumpet’s air shall them exhale.
Hear this, and mend thyself, and thou mend’st me,
By making me being dead, do good to thee,
And think me well composed, that I could now
A last-sick hour to syllables allow.

An Anatomy of the World
On Himself


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