by John Donne

            TAKE heed of loving me ;
At least remember, I forbade it thee ;
Not that I shall repair my unthrifty waste
Of breath and blood, upon thy sighs and tears,
By being to thee then what to me thou wast ;
But so great joy our life at once outwears.
Then, lest thy love by my death frustrate be,
If thou love me, take heed of loving me.

            Take heed of hating me,
Or too much triumph in the victory ;
Not that I shall be mine own officer,
And hate with hate again retaliate ;
But thou wilt lose the style of conqueror,
If I, thy conquest, perish by thy hate.
Then, lest my being nothing lessen thee,
If thou hate me, take heed of hating me.

            Yet love and hate me too ;
So these extremes shall ne'er their office do ;
Love me, that I may die the gentler way ;
Hate me, because thy love's too great for me ;
Or let these two, themselves, not me, decay ;
So shall I live thy stage, not triumph be.
Lest thou thy love and hate, and me undo,
O let me live, yet love and hate me too.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 72-73.

Rinaldo and Armida, 1650-60. Gaspar de Crayer.

to Works of John Donne

Site copyright ©1996-2003 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on May 21, 1996. Last updated August 31, 2003.

Background by the kind permission of Stormi Wallpaper Boutique.