John Donne Poem

To the Countess of Huntingdon

Please log in or register to do it.

Man to God’s image, Eve, to man’s was made,
Nor find we that God breathed a soul in her,
Canons will not Church functions you invade,
Nor laws to civil office you prefer.

Who vagrant transitory comets sees,
Wonders, because they are rare; but a new star
Whose motion with the firmament agrees,
Is miracle; for, there no new things are;

In woman so perchance mild innocence
A seldom comet is, but active good
A miracle, which reason ‘scapes, and sense;
For, art and nature this in them withstood.

As such a star, the Magi led to view
The manger-cradled infant, God below:
By virtue’s beams by fame derived from you,
May apt souls, and the worst may, virtue know.

If the world’s age, and death be argued well
By the sun’s fall, which now towards earth doth bend,
Then we might fear that virtue, since she fell
So low as woman, should be near her end.

But she’s not stooped, but raised; exiled by men
She fled to heaven, that’s heavenly things, that’s you,
She was in all men, thinly scattered then,
But now amassed, contracted in a few.

She gilded us: but you are gold, and she;
Us she informed, but transubstantiates you;
Soft dispositions which ductile be,
Elixir-like, she makes not clean, but new.

Though you a wife’s and mother’s name retain,
‘Tis not as woman, for all are not so,
But virtue having made you virtue, is fain
To adhere in these names, her and you to show,

Else, being alike pure, we should neither see,
As, water being into air rarefied,
Neither appear, till in one cloud they be,
So, for our sakes you do low names abide;

Taught by great constellations, which being framed
Of the most stars, take low names, Crab, and Bull,
When single planets by the gods are named,
You covet not great names, of great things full.

So you, as woman, one doth comprehend,
And in the veil of kindred others see;
To some ye are revealed, as in a friend,
And as a virtuous prince far off, to me.

To whom, because from you all virtues flow,
And ’tis not none, to dare contemplate you,
I, which do so, as your true subject owe
Some tribute for that, so these lines are due.

If you can think these flatteries, they are,
For then your judgement is below my praise,
If they were so, oft, flatteries work as far,
As counsels, and as far th’ endeavour raise.

So my ill reaching you might there grow good,
But I remain a poisoned fountain still;
But not your beauty, virtue, knowledge, blood
Are more above all flattery, than my will.

And if I flatter any, ’tis not you
But my own judgement, who did long ago
Pronounce, that all these praises should be true,
And virtue should your beauty, and birth outgrow.

Now that my prophecies are all fulfilled,
Rather than God should not be honoured too,
And all these gifts confessed, which he instilled,
Yourself were bound to say that which I do.

So I, but your recorder am in this,
Or mouth, or speaker of the universe,
A ministerial notary, for ’tis
Not I, but you and fame, that make this verse;

I was your prophet in your younger days,
And now your chaplain, God in you to praise.

To Mr T. W. ('All Hail, Sweet Poet')
To the Countess of Bedford, on New Year’s Day


Already reacted for this post.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *