Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Songs and Sonnets
The Triple Fool
 
  I AM two fools, I know,
  For loving, and for saying so
    In whining poetry;
But where’s that wise man, 1 that would not be I,
    If she would not deny?        5
Then as th’ earth’s inward narrow crooked lanes
  Do purge sea water’s fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
  Through rhyme’s vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers 2 cannot be so fierce,        10
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.
 
  But when I have done so,
  Some man, his art and voice 3 to show,
    Doth set and sing my pain;
And, by delighting many, frees again        15
    Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
  But not of such as pleases when ’tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
  For both their triumphs so are published,        20
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.
 
Note 1. l. 4. 1669, the wiser man [back]
Note 2. l. 10. 1669, number [back]
Note 3. l. 13. 1669, or voice [back]
 
 
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