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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
168. The Dream
 
John Donne (1573–1631)
 
 
DEAR love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream;
        It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for fantasy.
Therefore thou waked’st me wisely; yet        5
My dream thou brak’st not, but continued’st it:
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths and fables histories.
Enter these arms, for since thou thought’st it best
Not to dream all my dream, let’s act the rest.        10
 
As lightning, or a taper’s light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise, waked me;
        Yet I thought thee—
For thou lov’st truth—an angel at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw’st my heart,        15
And knew’st my thoughts beyond an angel’s art,
When thou knew’st what I dreamt, when thou knew’st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and cam’st then,
I must confess it could not choose but be
Profane to think thee anything but thee.        20
 
Coming and staying show’d thee thee;
But rising makes me doubt that now
        Thou art not thou.
That Love is weak where Fear’s as strong as he;
’Tis not all spirit pure and brave,        25
If mixture it of Fear, Shame, Honour have.
Perchance, as torches, which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou dealst with me.
Thou cam’st to kindle, goest to come: then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.        30
 

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