by John Donne
TO what a cumbersome unwieldiness
And burdenous corpulence my love had grown,
But that I did, to make it less,
And keep it in proportion,
Give it a diet, made it feed upon
That which love worst endures, discretion
Above one sigh a day I allow'd him not,
Of which my fortune, and my faults had part ;
And if sometimes by stealth he got
A she sigh from my mistress' heart,
And thought to feast upon that, I let him see
'Twas neither very sound, nor meant to me.
If he wrung from me a tear, I brined it so
With scorn and shame, that him it nourish'd not ;
If he suck'd hers, I let him know
'Twas not a tear which he had got ;
His drink was counterfeit, as was his meat ;
For eyes, which roll towards all, weep not, but sweat.
Whatever he would dictate I writ that,
But burnt her letters when she writ to me ;
And if that favour made him fat,
I said, "If any title be
Convey'd by this, ah ! what doth it avail,
To be the fortieth name in an entail?"
Thus I reclaim'd my buzzard love, to fly
At what, and when, and how, and where I choose.
Now negligent of sports I lie,
And now, as other falconers use,
I spring a mistress, swear, write, sigh, and weep ;
And the game kill'd, or lost, go talk or sleep.
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 57-59.
Lute Playing Young Man.
Bartolomeo Manfredi (1582-1622)
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
From Web Gallery of Art