The Canonization

FOR God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love;
Or chide my palsy, or my gout;
My five gray hairs, or ruin'd fortune flout;
With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve;
Take you a course,get you a place,
Observe his Honour, or his Grace;
Or the king's real, or his stamp'd face
Contemplate; what you will,approve,
So you will let me love.

Alas ! alas ! who's injured by my love?
What merchant's ships have my sighs drown'd?
Who says my tears have overflow'd his ground?
When did my colds a forward spring remove?
When did the heats which my veins fill
Add one more to the plaguy bill?
Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
Litigious men, which quarrels move,
Though she and I do love.

Call's what you will, we are made such by love;
Call her one, me another fly,
We're tapers too, and at our own cost die,
And we in us find th' eagle and the dove.
The phoenix riddle hath more wit
By us; we two being one, are it;
So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit.
We die and rise the same, and prove
Mysterious by this love.

We can die by it, if not live by love,
And if unfit for tomb or hearse
Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;
And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms;
As well a well-wrought urn becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs,
And by these hymns , all shall approve
Us canonized for love;

And thus invoke us, "You, whom reverend love
Made one another's hermitage;
You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove
Into the glasses of your eyes;
So made such mirrors, and such spies,
That they did all to you epitomize—
Countries, towns, courts beg from above
A pattern of your love."

The Sun Rising

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

She's all states, and all princes I;
Nothing else is;
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

The Legacy

WHEN last I died, and, dear, I die
As often as from thee I go,
Though it be but an hour ago
—And lovers' hours be full eternity—
I can remember yet, that I
Something did say, and something did bestow;
Though I be dead, which sent me, I might be
Mine own executor, and legacy.

I heard me say, Tell her anon,
That myself," that is you, not I,
" Did kill me," and when I felt me die,
I bid me send my heart, when I was gone;
But I alas ! could there find none;
When I had ripp'd, and search'd where hearts should lie,
It kill'd me again, that I who still was true
In life, in my last will should cozen you.

Yet I found something like a heart,
But colours it, and corners had;
It was not good, it was not bad,
It was entire to none, and few had part;
As good as could be made by art
It seem'd, and therefore for our loss be sad.
I meant to send that heart instead of mine,
But O ! no man could hold it, for 'twas thine.

The Flea

MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two;
And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
'Tis true; then learn how false fears be;
Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

The Triple Fool

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry;
But where's that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny ?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain;
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Air and Angels

TWICE or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be.
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing did I see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;
Thy every hair for love to work upon
Is much too much; some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scattering bright, can love inhere;
Then as an angel face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere;
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air's and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love, and men's, will ever be.

The Indifferent

I can love both fair and brown;
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays;
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays;
Her whom the country form'd, and whom the town;
Her who believes, and her who tries;
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries.
I can love her, and her, and you, and you;
I can love any, so she be not true.
Will no other vice content you ?
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers ?
Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others ?
Or doth a fear that men are true torment you ?
O we are not, be not you so;
Let me—and do you—twenty know;
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fix'd subject, because you are true?.

Venus heard me sigh this song;
And by love's sweetest part, variety, she swore,
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and return'd ere long,
And said, "Alas ! some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them,'Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you.'"

The Undertaking

I have done one braver thing
Than all the Worthies did;
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

It were but madness now to impart
The skill of specular stone,
When he, which can have learn'd the art
To cut it, can find none.

So, if I now should utter this,
Others—because no more
Such stuff to work upon, there is—
Would love but as before.

But he who loveliness within
Hath found, all outward loathes,
For he who color loves, and skin,
Loves but their oldest clothes.

If, as I have, you also do
Virtue in woman see,
And dare love that, and say so too,
And forget the He and She;

And if this love, though placèd so,
From profane men you hide,
Which will no faith on this bestow,
Or, if they do, deride;

Then you have done a braver thing
Than all the Worthies did;
And a braver thence will spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

Valediction to His Book

I'LL tell thee now (dear love) what thou shalt do
To anger destiny, as she doth us;
How I shall stay, though she eloign me thus,
And how posterity shall know it too;
How thine may out-endure
Sibyl's glory, and obscure
Her who from Pindar could allure,
And her, through whose help Lucan is not lame,
And her, whose book (they say) Homer did find, and name.

Study our manuscripts, those myriads
Of letters, which have past 'twixt thee and me;
Thence write our annals, and in them will be
To all whom love's subliming fire invades,
Rule and example found;
There the faith of any ground
No schismatic will dare to wound,
That sees, how Love this grace to us affords,
To make, to keep, to use, to be these his records.

This book, as long-lived as the elements,
Or as the world's form, this all-gravèd tome
In cypher writ, or new made idiom;
We for Love's clergy only are instruments;
When this book is made thus,
Should again the ravenous
Vandals and Goths invade us,
Learning were safe; in this our universe,
Schools might learn sciences, spheres music, angels verse.

Here Love's divines—since all divinity
Is love or wonder—may find all they seek,
Whether abstract spiritual love they like,
Their souls exhaled with what they do not see;
Or, loth so to amuse
Faith's infirmity, they choose
Something which they may see and use;
For, though mind be the heaven, where love doth sit,
Beauty a convenient type may be to figure it.

Here more than in their books may lawyers find,
Both by what titles mistresses are ours,
And how prerogative these states devours,
Transferr'd from Love himself, to womankind;
Who, though from heart and eyes,
They exact great subsidies,
Forsake him who on them relies;
And for the cause, honour, or conscience give;
Chimeras vain as they or their prerogative.

Here statesmen—or of them, they which can read—
May of their occupation find the grounds;
Love, and their art, alike it deadly wounds,
If to consider what 'tis, one proceed.
In both they do excel
Who the present govern well,
Whose weakness none doth, or dares tell;
In this thy book, such will there something see,
As in the Bible some can find out alchemy.

Thus vent thy thoughts; abroad I'll study thee,
As he removes far off, that great heights takes;
How great love is, presence best trial makes,
But absence tries how long this love will be;
To take a latitude
Sun, or stars, are fitliest view'd
At their brightest, but to conclude
Of longitudes, what other way have we,
But to mark when and where the dark eclipses be?

The Dream

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
My dream thou brokest 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.
As lightning, or a taper's light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise waked me;
Yet I thought thee
—For thou lovest truth—an angel, at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw'st my heart,
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 camest then,
I must confess, it could not choose but be
Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.

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,
If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have;
Perchance as torches, which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;
Thou camest to kindle, go'st to come; then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

The Canonization

In "The Canonization," Donne uses metaphysical conceit in order to display the paradox of the lovers and the canonization of the saints in the Early church. In the beginning of the poem, Donne asks readers to leave him alone and to "let him love." He tells readers that his love his so beautiful that nothing in the world can taint it.

Donne also uses biblical allusions to invoke a religious aspect to his love. He reminds readers of the Biblical dove and its beauty.

The most powerful instrument of this poem, however, is Donne's famous use of metaphysical conceit, where he compares two very unlike things in what is called a "intellectualized comparison. Donne compares the canonization, or creation of saints in the Early church, to his love. Like the saints, him and his lover will be remembered, forever entombed in "little sonnets" just like the one he has written.

The Sun Rising

In "The Sun Rising," Donne compares the sun to his love. He argues that just as the sun shines brightly on the world, so does his love shine through the world and remains bright. The speaker of the poem starts the first stanza by asking the sun to go away and let him and his lover be. In the second stanza, however, the speaker challenges the son, saying that any brightness from the sun he and his lover could " a wink." In the end, it is the brightness of the sun that the speaker mirrors through his love. In the last lines of the poem, Donne uses metaphysical conceit to say that the lovers' bed is the sphere for the sun itself.

The Legacy

In "The Legacy", Donne professes his sincere love to a woman. He expresses how he would die without her love. What is peculiar about "The Legacy" is that Donne refrains from using any of the literary devices usually attributed to him. Instead, Donne is very clear and straight-forward, saying that his lover's heart is "as good as can be made by art" and declares the perfection of his lover most ardently.

The Flea

In The Flea, Donne questions his lady by comparing "The Flea" that has already mingled their blood to a matimonial ceremony. Donne argues that the two are more than married and that she would lose no more virtue sleeping with him than killing the flea. Donne compares the flea sucking his and his lover's blood to marriage, saying that he is so connected to her already there is no reason they should not have intercourse. Just as neither he nor his lover are "weaker now" after being sucked by the flea, the speaker urges his lover that she will be none the weaker or more sinful for having intercourse with him.

The Triple Fool

In "The Triple Fool," Donne is referring to himself as the "triple fool." He is first a fool for falling in love, and secondly a fool for telling others about his love. Lastly, Donne is most a fool for believing that writing about his grief and his loss of love would make his heartache better. In reality, his pain is "increased by such songs." Poetry only makes his pain worse and, indeed, the more he analyzes and dwells on his pain the worse he feels.

Air and Angels

While the definative meaning of "Air and Angels" is difficult to determine, this poem illustrates love as something not earthly, buth rather something extraordinary and inexplainable. Donne creates a blibical allusion, saying that angels' worship the love he shares with his lover. He says that love is some "lovely glorious nothing" that readers cannot really understand;.

Donne again utilizes metaphysical conceit by comparing his love to water. He writes that his love is "ballast;" like water from other regions trapped in the bottom of ships, love seems to come from somewhere else than earth.

The Indifferent

As one of John Donne's earlier poems, "The Indifferent" is simple to understand and most obviously mocks the pious ideas of the early Church. In the first stanza Donne brags about his multiple love partners and asks his lover why he ought to be true and honest to his lover just because she is honest and meanignful in each of her love affairs. He commands her, saying, "rob me, but bind me not."Donne argues that love should be varied and that the pious idea of inoccence and honesty in love is unecessary. In the last line of the poem, Donne tells his readers that honesty in love is useless because your love partners will not intend to be honest and true (at least if they are anything like Donne).

The Undertaking

While many people have various interpretations of "The Undertaking," most critics agree that it is most clearly a poem about homosexuality. Donne calls what he did "brave," but remarks that his greatest achievement was to "keep it hid." It would be "madness" to reveal his secret, but, if he were to reveal himself, his friends and family might "love" him as they once did. In the end though, Donne reminds himself that he must keep his secret hidden.

Valediction to His Book

"Valediction to His Book"

"Valediction to His Book" is probably the most difficult of the poems in the collection to understand. While I myself do not know all of the allusions and the full meaning behind this poem, this love poem again allows the speaker to tell his lover how much he ardently loves her. He says that "mind be the heaven, where love doth sit." He akins love to "divinity and continues says that their love is so grand it is as pious and holy and divine as all that is holy in the church.

The Dream

Just like "The Flea," "The Dream" allows Donne to question his lover and try and coax her to have intercourse with him. Using the metaphysical conceit of his dream, Donne asks his lover if they might not "act out the rest" since she has woken him from his sleep. It would be "profane" for the speaker to think of anything upon waking from a dream about his lover than to want his lover. The speaker ends the poem by coaxing his lover that it is his "hope" to fulfill his "happy dream" with her.

Legend metaphysical conceit = text
command word = text
allusion = text