Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
 
Poems of Sentiment: II. Life
The Will
John Donne (1572–1631)
 
BEFORE I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Love, some legacies: here I bequeathe
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see,
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee;
My tongue to Fame, to embassadors my ears;        5
      To women, or the sea, my tears;
    Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore
  By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such as had too much before.
 
My constancy I to the planets give;        10
My truth to them who at the court do live;
Mine ingenuity and openness
To Jesuits; to buffoons my pensiveness;
My silence to any who abroad have been;
      My money to a Capuchin.        15
    Thou, Love, taught’st me, by appointing me
  To love there, where no love received can be,
Only to give to such as have an incapacity.
 
My faith I give to Roman Catholics;
All my good works unto the schismatics        20
Of Amsterdam; my best civility
And courtship to an University;
My modesty I give to shoulders bare;
      My patience let gamesters share.
    Thou, Love, taught’st me, by making me        25
  Love her, that holds my love disparity,
Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.
 
I give my reputatiòn to those
Which were my friends; mine industry to foes;
To schoolmen I bequeathe my doubtfulness;        30
My sickness to physicians, or excess;
To Nature all that I in rhyme have writ;
      And to my company my wit.
    Thou, Love, by making me adore
  Her, who begot this love in me before,        35
Taught’st me to make, as though I gave, when I do but restore.
 
To him, for whom the passing-bell next tolls,
I give my physic-books; my written rolls
Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give:
My brazen medals unto them which live        40
In want of bread; to them which pass among
      All foreigners, mine English tongue.
    Thou, Love, by making me love one
  Who thinks her friendship a fit portiòn
For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.        45
 
Therefore I ’ll give no more, but I ’ll undo
The world by dying; because Love dies too.
Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it forth;
And all your graces no more use shall have,        50
      Than a sun-dial in a grave.
    Thou, Love, taught’st me, by making me
  Love her, who doth neglect both me and thee,
To invent and practise this one way to annihilate all three.
 
 
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