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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Elegies
XIII. His Parting from Her
 
SINCE she must go, and I must mourn, come night,
Environ me with darkness, whilst I write;
Shadow that hell unto me, which alone
I am to suffer when my love 1 is gone.
Alas! the darkest magic cannot do it, 2        5
And that great hell, to boot, are shadows to it.
Should Cynthia quit thee, Venus, and each star,
It would not form one thought dark as mine are.
I could lend them obscureness now, and say
Out of myself, there should be no more day.        10
Such is already my self-want of sight,
Did not the fire within me force a light.
O Love, that fire and darkness should be mix’d,
Or to thy triumphs such strange torments fix’d!
Is it because thou thyself art blind, that we,        15
Thy martyrs, must no more each other see?
Or takest thou pride to break us on thy wheel,
And view old Chaos in the pains we feel?
Or have we left undone some mutual rite,
That thus with parting thou seek’st us to spite?        20
No, no. The fault is mine, impute it to me,
Or rather to conspiring destiny,
Which, since I loved in jest before, 3 decreed
That I should suffer, when I loved indeed;
And therefore, sooner now than I can say,        25
I saw the golden fruit, ’tis rapt away;
Or as I’d watch’d one drop in the vast stream,
And I left wealthy only in a dream.
Yet, Love, thou’rt blinder than myself in this,
To vex my dove-like friend for my amiss;        30
And where one sad truth may expiate
Thy wrath, to make her fortune run my fate.
So blinded justice doth, when favourites fall,
Strike them, their house, their friends, their favourites all.
Was’t not enough that thou didst dart thy fires        35
Into our bloods, inflaming our desires,
And madest us sigh, and blow, and pant, and burn,
And then thyself into our flames didst turn?
Was’t not enough that thou didst hazard us
To paths in love so dark and dangerous,        40
And those so ambush’d round with household spies,
And over all thy husband’s towering eyes,
Inflamed with th’ ugly sweat of jealousy;
Yet went we not still on in constancy?
Have we for this kept guards, like spy on spy? 4        45
Had correspondence whilst the foe stood by?
Stolen, more to sweeten them, our many blisses
Of meetings, conference, embracements, kisses?
Shadow’d with negligence our best respects? 5
Varied our language through all dialects        50
Of becks, winks, looks, and often under boards
Spoke dialogues with our feet far from our 6 words?
Have we proved all the secrets of our art,
Yea, thy pale inwards, and thy panting heart?
And, after all this passed purgatory,        55
Must sad divorce make us the vulgar story?
First let our eyes be riveted quite through 7
Our turning brain, and both our lips grow to;
Let our arms clasp like ivy, and our fear
Freeze us together, that we may stick here,        60
Till Fortune, that would ruin us with the deed,
Strain his eyes open, and yet make them bleed.
For Love it cannot be, whom hitherto
I have accused, should such a mischief do.
O Fortune, thou’rt not worth my least exclaim,        65
And plague enough thou hast in thy own name.
Do thy great worst; my friend and I have charms, 8
Though not against thy strokes, against thy harms.
Rend us in sunder; 9 thou canst not divide
Our bodies so, but that our souls are tied,        70
And we can love by letters still and gifts,
And thoughts and dreams; love never wanteth shifts.
I will not look upon the quickening sun,
But straight her beauty to my sense shall run;
The air shall note her soft, the fire, most pure;        75
Waters suggest her clear, and the earth sure.
Time shall not lose our passages; the spring,
How fresh our love was in the beginning;
The summer, how it ripen’d 10 in the year;
And autumn, what our golden harvests were;        80
The winter I’ll not think on to spite thee,
But count it a lost season; so shall she.
And dearest friend, since we must part, drown night 11
With hope of day—burdens well borne are light—;
The cold and darkness longer hang somewhere,        85
Yet Phœbus equally lights all the sphere;
And what we cannot in like portion pay 12
The world enjoys in mass, and so we may.
Be then ever yourself, and let no woe
Win on your health, your youth, your beauty; so        90
Declare yourself base Fortune’s enemy,
No less be your contempt than her inconstancy; 13
That I may grow enamour’d on your mind,
When mine own thoughts I here neglected find.
And this to the comfort of my dear I vow,        95
My deeds shall still be what my deeds are now;
The poles shall move to teach me ere I start;
And when I change my love, I’ll change my heart.
Nay, if I wax but cold in my desire,
Think, heaven hath motion lost, and the world, fire.        100
Much more I could, but many words have made
That oft suspected which men most persuade. 14
Take therefore all in this; I love so true,
As I will never look for less in you.
 
Note 1. l. 4. So 1669; 1635, my soul [back]
Note 2. l. 5. Editions before 1669 omit ll. 5–44. [back]
Note 3. l. 23. So Haslewood-Kingsborough MS.; 1669, loved for me before [back]
Note 4. l. 45. So 1669; 1635, o’er spy [back]
Note 5. l. 49. So 1669; 1635, most respects [back]
Note 6. l. 52. So 1669; 1635 omits our [back]
Note 7. l. 57. Editions before 1669 omit ll. 57–66. [back]
Note 8. l. 67. So Haslewood-Kingsborough MS.; 1635, Fortune, do thy worst, my friend and I have arms [back]
Note 9. l. 69. So 1669; 1635, Bend us in sunder [back]
Note 10. l. 79. 1639, it inripened [back]
Note 11. l. 83. Editions before 1669 omit ll. 83–94. [back]
Note 12. l. 87. Haslewood-Kingsborough MS., And what he can’t in like proportion pay [back]
Note 13. l. 92. Haslewood-Kingsborough MS., than constancy [back]
Note 14. l. 102. So 1669; 1635, would persuade [back]
 
 
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