John Donne Poem

Love’s Power

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Shall Love, that gave Latona’s heir the foil,
(Proud of his archery and Python’s spoil,)
And so enthrall’d him to a nymph’s disdain
As, when his hopes were dead, he, full of pain,
Made him above all trees the laurel grace,
An emblem of Love’s glory, his disgrace;
Shall he, I say, be term’d a foot-boy now
Which made all powers in heaven and earth to bow?
Or is’t a fancy which themselves do frame,
And therefore dare baptize by any name?
A flaming straw! which one spark kindles bright,
And first hard breath out of itself doth fright;
Whose father was a smile, and death a frown,
Soon proud of little and for less cast down?
‘Tis so! and this a lackey term you may,
For it runs oft and makes but shortest stay.
But thou, O Love! free from Time’s eating rust,
That set’st a limit unto boundless lust,
Making desire grow infinitely strong,
And yet to one chaste subject still belong;
Bridling self-love, that flatters us in ease,
Quick’ning our wits to strive that they may please;
Fixing the wand’ring thoughts of straying youth,
The firmest bond of Faith, the knot of Truth ;
Thou that didst never lodge in worthless heart,
Thou art a master wheresoe’er thou art.
Thou makest food loathsome, sleep to be unrest,
Lost labour easeful, scornful looks a feast ;
And when thou wilt, thy joys as far excel
All else as, when thou punishest, thy Hell.
O make that rebel feel thy matchless power,
Thou that madest Jove a bull, a swan, a shower.
Give him a love as tyrannous as fair,
That his desire go yoked with despair.
Live in her eyes, but in her frozen heart
Let no thaw come that may have sense of smart.
Let her a constant silence never break,
Till he do wish repulse to hear her speak;
And last, such sense of error may him have
As he may never dare for mercy crave.
Then none will more capitulate with thee,
But of their hearts will yield the empire free.

Love and Reason
To a Painted Lady


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