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This HTML e-text of John Donne's "Epigrams" was created in November 2000 by Anniina Jokinen of Luminarium. The unaltered text is from The Muses' Library edition, edited by E. K. Chambers, 1896. Chambers' text is based on the 1633, 1635, 1650 and 1669 editions of Donne's Poems— the current editor has omitted the variorum and notes, for which the reader is encouraged to see the source text, or any of the excellent modern works on the subject.
    Source text:
    Donne, John. "Epigrams." Poems of John Donne. Vol II.
    E. K. Chambers, Editor. London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 210-.
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Donne portrait





210

EPIGRAMS.

HERO AND LEANDER.

BOTH robb'd of air, we both lie in one ground ;
Both whom one fire had burnt, one water drown'd.


PYRAMUS AND THISBE.

Two, by themselves, each other, love and fear,
Slain, cruel friends, by parting have join'd here.


NIOBE.

By children's births, and death, I am become
So dry, that I am now mine own sad tomb.


A BURNT SHIP.

Out of a fired ship, which by no way
But drowning could be rescued from the flame,
Some men leap'd forth, and ever as they came
Near the foes' ships, did by their shot decay ;
So all were lost, which in the ship were found,
    They in the sea being burnt, they in the burnt ship
          drowned.


FALL OF A WALL.

Under an undermined and shot-bruised wall
A too-bold captain perish'd by the fall,
Whose brave misfortune happiest men envied,
That had a town for tomb, his bones to hide.



211

A LAME BEGGAR.

I am unable, yonder beggar cries,
To stand, or move ; if he say true, he lies.


A SELF-ACCUSER.

Your mistress, that you follow whores, still taxeth
       you ;
'Tis strange that she should thus confess it, though 't
       be true.


A LICENTIOUS PERSON.

Thy sins and hairs may no man equal call ;
For, as thy sins increase, thy hairs do fall.


ANTIQUARY.

If in his study he hath so much care
To hang all old strange things, let his wife beware.


DISINHERITED.

Thy father all from thee, by his last will,
Gave to the poor ; thou hast good title still.


PHRYNE.

Thy flattering picture, Phryne, is like thee,
Only in this, that you both painted be.


AN OBSCURE WRITER.

Philo with twelve years' study hath been grieved
To be understood ; when will he be believed?



212

[KLOCKIUS]

Klockius so deeply hath sworn ne'er more to come
In bawdy house, that he dares not go home.


RADERUS.

Why this man gelded Martial I muse,
Except himself alone his tricks would use,
As Katherine, for the court's sake, put down stews.


MERCURIUS GALLO-BELGICUS.

Like Esop's fellow-slaves, O Mercury,
Which could do all things, thy faith is ; and I
Like Esop's self, which nothing. I confess
I should have had more faith, if thou hadst less.
Thy credit lost thy credit. 'Tis sin to do,
In this case, as thou wouldst be done unto,
To believe all. Change thy name ; thou art like
Mercury in stealing, but liest like a Greek.


[RALPHIUS]

Compassion in the world again is bred ;
Ralphius is sick, the broker keeps his bed.












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