Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XIX. The Shrouding
The Funeral
By John Donne (1572–1631)
 
WHOEVER comes to shroud me, do not harm
      Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm;
The mystery, the sign you must not touch,
      For ’tis my outward soul,        5
Viceroy to that which, then to heav’n 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, 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 ’t, bury it with me,
      For since I am
Love’s martyr, it might breed idolatry
If into other’s hands these reliques 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.
 
 
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