Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Elegies
I. Jealousy
 
FOND woman, which wouldst have thy husband die,
And yet complain’st of his great jealousy;
If, swollen with poison, he lay in his last bed,
His body with a sere bark 1 covered,
Drawing his breath as thick and short as can        5
The nimblest crocheting musician,
Ready with loathsome vomiting to spew
His soul out of one hell into a new,
Made deaf with his poor kindred’s howling cries,
Begging with few feign’d tears great legacies,—        10
Thou wouldst not weep, but jolly, and frolic be,
As a slave, which to-morrow should be free.
Yet weep’st thou, when thou seest him hungerly
Swallow his own death, heart’s-bane jealousy?
O give him many thanks, he’s courteous,        15
That in suspecting kindly warneth us.
We must not, as we used, flout openly,
In scoffing riddles, his deformity;
Nor at his board together being sat,
With words, nor touch, scarce looks, adulterate.        20
Nor when he, swollen and pamper’d with great fare, 2
Sits down and snorts, caged in his basket chair,
Must we usurp his own bed any more,
Nor kiss and play in his house, as before.
Now I see many dangers; 3 for it is        25
His realm, his castle, and his diocese.
But if—as envious men, which would revile
Their prince, or coin his gold, themselves exile
Into another country, and do it there—
We play in another 4 house, what should we fear?        30
There we will scorn his household policies,
His silly plots, and pensionary spies,
As the inhabitants of Thames’ right side
Do London’s mayor, or Germans the Pope’s pride.
 
Note 1. l. 4. 1669, sere-cloth, Addl. MS. 25,707, sore bark [back]
Note 2. l. 21. 1669, high fare [back]
Note 3. l. 25. 1669, Now do I see my danger [back]
Note 4. l. 30. 1669, another’s, Addl. MS. 25,707, other [back]
 
 
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