John Donne Poem

To my Lord of Pembroke

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Fie, fie, you sons of Pallas, what mad rage
Makes you contend, that Love’s or God or page?
He that admires, his weakness doth confess,
For as love greater grows, so he grows less.
He that disdains, what honour wins thereby,
That he feels not, or triumphs on a fly?
If love with queasy pain thy stomach move,
So will a slut whom none dare touch or love.
If it with sacred strains do thee inspire
Of poetry, so we may want admire.
If it thee valiant make, his rival Hate
Can outdo that, and make men desperate.
Yielding to us, all women conquer us,
By gentleness we are betrayed thus.
We will not strive with love that’s a she beast;
But playing we are bound, and yield in jest.
As in a cobweb toil a fly hath been
Undone, so have I some faint lover seen.
Love cannot take away our strength, but tame,
And we less feel the thing than fear the name,
Love is a temperate bath; he that feels more
Heat or cold there, was hot or cold before.
But as sunbeams, which would but nourish, burn
Drawn into hollow crystal, so we turn
To fire her beauty’s lustre willingly,
By gathering it in our false treacherous eye.
Love is nor you, nor you, but [aye a calm,]
Sword to the stiff, unto the wounded balm.
Praise nothing adds, if it be infinite;
If it be nothing, who can lessen it?

Of a Lady in the Black Mask
To the Blessed Virgin Mary


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