Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Appendix A. Doubtful Poems
Love’s War
TILL I have peace with thee, war other men,
And when I have peace, can I leave thee then?
All other wars are scrupulous; only thou
O free 1 fair city, mayst thyself allow
To any one. In Flanders, who can tell        5
Whether the master press, or men rebel?
Only we know, that which most idiots 2 say,
They must bear blows which come 3 to part the fray.
France in her lunatic giddiness did hate 4
Ever our men, yea, and our God, of late;        10
Yet she relies upon our angels well,
Which ne’er return, no more than they which fell.
Sick Ireland is with a strange 5 war possest,
Like to an ague, now raging, now at rest,
Which time will cure; yet it must do her good        15
If she were purg’d, and her head-vein 6 let blood;
And Midas joys our Spanish journeys give;
We touch all gold, 7 but find no food to live;
And I should be in that hot 8 parching clime
To dust and ashes turned before my time.        20
To mew me in a ship is to enthral
Me in a prison that were like to fall;
Or in a cloister, save that there men dwell
In a calm heaven, here in a swaying 9 hell.
Long voyages are long consumptions,        25
And ships are carts for executions; 10
Yea, they are deaths; is ’t not all one 11 to fly
Into another world, as ’tis to die?
Here let me war; in these arms let me lie:
Here let me parley, batter, bleed, and die. 12        30
Thine arms imprison me, and my arms thee;
Thy heart thy ransom is; take mine for me.
Other men war, that they their rest may gain,
But we will rest that we may fight again.
Those wars th’ ignorant, these th’ experienced love;        35
There we are always under, here above.
There 13 engines far off breed a just true fear;
Near thrusts, pikes, stabs, yea, bullets, hurt not here.
There lies are wrongs; here safe uprightly lie. 14
There men kill men; we’ll make one by and by.        40
Thou nothing, I not half so much shall do 15
In those wars, 16 as they may which from us two
Shall spring. Thousands we see which travel not
To war, but stay, swords, arms, and shot
To make at home; and shall not I do 17 then        45
More glorious service, staying to make men?
Note 1. l. 4. St. MS. A free [back]
Note 2. l. 7. Sim. St. MS. all idiots [back]
Note 3. l. 8. Sim. who come; St. MS. that come [back]
Note 4. l. 9. So St. MS.; Wald, giddinge, Sim. guidings. [back]
Note 5. l. 13. Sim. straying [back]
Note 6. l. 16. Sim. dead vein [back]
Note 7. l. 18. St. MS. find all gold [back]
Note 8. l. 19. St. MS. the hot [back]
Note 9. l. 24. Wald. Sim. swaggering; St. MS. swayring [back]
Note 10. l. 26. Wald. omits this line. [back]
Note 11. l. 27. St. MS. It is all one [back]
Note 12. l. 30. St. MS. better bleed than die [back]
Note 13. l. 37. Sim. These; St. MS. Their [back]
Note 14. l. 39. So Sim. St. MS. [back]
Note 15. l. 41. St. MS. to do [back]
Note 16. l. 42. Sim. St. MS. these wars [back]
Note 17. l. 45. Sim. we do [back]
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