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 Damp
 
WHEN I am dead, and doctors know not why,
        And my friends’ curiosity
Will have me cut up to survey each part,
When 1 they shall find your picture in my heart,
      You think a sudden damp of love        5
      Will thorough all their senses move,
And work on them as me, and so prefer
Your murder to the name of massacre,
 
Poor victories; but if you dare be brave,
        And pleasure in your conquest 2 have,        10
First kill th’ enormous giant, your Disdain;
And let th’ enchantress Honour, next be slain;
      And like a Goth or Vandal rise,
      Deface records and histories
Of your own arts and triumphs over men,        15
And without such advantage kill me then,
 
For I could muster up, as well as you,
        My giants, and my witches too,
Which are vast Constancy and Secretness;
But these I neither look for nor profess;        20
      Kill me as woman, let me die
      As a mere man; do you but try
Your passive valour, and you shall find then,
Naked 3 you have odds enough of any man.
 
Note 1. l. 4. 1669, And [back]
Note 2. l. 10. 1669, the conquest [back]
Note 3. l. 24. So 1635; 1633, In that [back]
 
 
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