by John Donne

IMAGE of her whom I love, more than she,
    Whose fair impression in my faithful heart
Makes me her medal, and makes her love me,
    As kings do coins, to which their stamps impart
The value ; go, and take my heart from hence,
    Which now is grown too great and good for me.
Honours oppress weak spirits, and our sense
    Strong objects dull ; the more, the less we see.
When you are gone, and reason gone with you,
    Then fantasy is queen and soul, and all ;
She can present joys meaner than you do,
    Convenient, and more proportional.
So, if I dream I have you, I have you,
    For all our joys are but fantastical ;
And so I 'scape the pain, for pain is true ;
    And sleep, which locks up sense, doth lock out all.
After a such fruition I shall wake,
    And, but the waking, nothing shall repent ;
And shall to love more thankful sonnets make,
    Than if more honour, tears, and pains were spent.
But, dearest heart and dearer image, stay ;
    Alas ! true joys at best are dream enough ;
Though you stay here, you pass too fast away,
    For even at first life's taper is a snuff.
Fill'd with her love, may I be rather grown
    Mad with much heart, than idiot with none.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 119-120.

Lucas Cranach, the Elder. Nymph of Spring, 1518.
From CGFA.
to Works of John Donne

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