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
Love’s Diet
 
TO what a cumbersome unwieldiness
And burdenous corpulence my love had grown,
  But that I did, to make it less,
  And keep it in proportion,
Give it a diet, made it feed upon        5
That which love worst endures, discretion.
 
Above one sigh a day I allow’d him not,
Of which my fortune, and my faults had part;
  And if sometimes by stealth he got
  A she sigh from my mistress’ heart,        10
And thought to feast on that, I let him see
’Twas neither very sound, nor meant to me.
 
If he wrung from me a tear, I brined it so
With scorn or shame, that him it nourish’d not;
  If he suck’d hers, I let him know        15
  ’Twas not a tear which he had got;
His drink was counterfeit, as was his meat;
For eyes, 1 which roll towards all, weep not, but sweat.
 
Whatever he would dictate I writ 2 that,
But burnt her letters when she writ 3 to me;        20
  And if that 4 favour made him fat,
  I said, “If any title be
Convey’d by this, ah! what doth it avail,
To be the fortieth name 5 in an entail?”
 
Thus I reclaim’d my buzzard love, to flie        25
At what, and when, and how, and where I choose.
  Now negligent of sports 6 I lie,
  And now, as other falconers use,
I spring a mistress, swear, write, sigh, and weep;
And the game kill’d, or lost, go talk or sleep. 7        30
 
Note 1. l. 18. 1669, Her eyes [back]
Note 2. l. 19. So 1633, 1669; 1650, Whate’er might him distaste, I still writ that [back]
Note 3. l. 20. So 1635; 1633, my letters; 1669, my letters which she writ [back]
Note 4. l. 21. So 1635; 1633, that that [back]
Note 5. l. 24. 1669, fortieth man [back]
Note 6. l. 27. 1635, sport [back]
Note 7. l. 30. So 1635; 1633, and sleep [back]
 
 
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