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 Legacy
 
WHEN last I died, 1 and, dear, I die
As often as from thee I go,
Though it be but an hour ago
—And lovers’ hours be full eternity—
I can remember yet, that I        5
Something did say, and something did bestow;
Though I be dead, which sent me, I might be 2
Mine own executor, and legacy.
 
I heard me say, “Tell her anon,
That myself,” that is you, not I,        10
“Did kill me,” and when I felt me die,
I bid me send my heart, when I was gone;
But I alas! could there find none;
When I had ripp’d, and search’d where hearts should lie, 3
It kill’d me again, that I who still was true        15
In life, in my last will should cozen you.
 
Yet I found something like a heart,
But colours it, and corners had;
It was not good, it was not bad,
It was entire to none, and few had part;        20
As good as could be made by art
It seemed, and therefore for our loss be sad. 4
I meant to send that heart instead of mine,
But O! no man could hold it, for ’twas thine.
 
Note 1. l. 1. So 1669; 1633, I died last [back]
Note 2. l. 7. So 1669; 1633, I should be; 1635, which meant me, I should be [back]
Note 3. l. 14. So 1635; 1633, ripp’d me … did lie [back]
Note 4. l. 22. So 1669; 1633, losses sad [back]
 
 
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