Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Songs and Sonnets
The Funeral
WHOEVER comes to shroud me, do not harm,
      Nor question much,
That subtle wreath of hair, which crowns my arm; 1
The mystery, the sign you must not touch;
      For ’tis my outward soul,        5
Viceroy to that, which unto heaven being gone,
      Will leave this to control
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.
For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
      Through every part        10
Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
Those hairs which upward grew, 2 and strength and art
      Have from a better brain,
Can better do ’t; except she meant that I
      By this should know my pain,        15
As prisoners then are manacled, when they’re condemn’d to die.
Whate’er she meant by it, bury it with me,
      For since I am
Love’s martyr, it might breed idolatry,
If into other hands these relics came.        20
      As ’twas humility
To afford to it all that a soul can do,
      So ’tis some bravery,
That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.
Note 1. l. 3. 1669, about mine arm [back]
Note 2. l. 12. 1650, grow [back]

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