John Donne Poem

To the Countess of Bedford (‘Though I be dead, and buried’)

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Begun in France but Never Perfected

Though I be dead, and buried, yet I have
—Living in you—Court enough in my grave,
As oft as there I think myself to be,
So many resurrections waken me.
That thankfulness your favours have begot
In me, embalms me, that I do not rot.
This season as ’tis Easter, as ’tis spring,
Must both to growth and to confession bring
My thoughts disposed unto your influence, so,
These verses bud, so these confessions grow;
First I confess I have to others lent
Your stock, and over prodigally spent
Your treasure, for since I had never known
Virtue or beauty, but as they are grown
In you, I should not think or say they shine,
—So as I have— in any other mine;
Next I confess this my confession,
For, ’tis some fault thus much to touch upon
Your praise to you, where half rights seem too much,
And make your mind’s sincere complexion blush.
Next I confess my impenitence, for I
Can scarce repent my first fault, since thereby
Remote low spirits, which shall ne’er read you,
May in less lessons find enough to do,
By studying copies, not originals,
Desunt caetera.

A Letter to the Lady Carey, and Mistress Essex Rich, from Amiens
To the Countesse of Huntington ('That unripe side of earth')


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