John Donne
Actio Laesa.
The  strength,  and  the  function
of the Senses, and other faculties
change and faile.                         

THE Heavens are not the less constant, because they move continually, because they move continually one and the same way. The Earth is not the more constant, because it lyes stil continually, because continually it changes, and melts in al parts thereof. Man, who is the noblest part of the Earth, melts so away, as if he were a statue, not of Earth, but of Snowe. We see his owne Envie melts him, he growes leane with that; he will say, anothers beautie melts him; but he feeles that a Fever doth not melt him like snow, but powr him out like lead, like iron, like brasse melted in a furnace: It doth not only melt him, but calcine him, reduce him to Atomes, and to ashes; not to water, but to lime. And how quickly? Sooner than thou canst receive an answer, sooner than thou canst conceive the question; Earth is the center of my Bodie, Heaven is the center of my Soule; these two are the naturall places of those two; but those goe not to these two in an equall pace: My body falls downe without pushing, my Soule does not go up without pulling: Ascension is my Soules pace and measure, but precipitation my bodies: And, even Angells, whose home is Heaven, and who are winged too, yet had a Ladder to goe to Heaven, by steps. The Sunne who goes so many miles in a minut, the Starres of the Firmament, which go so very many more, goe not so fast, as my body to the earth. In the same instant that I feele the first attempt of the disease, I feele the victory; In the twinckling of an eye, I can scarse see, instantly the tast is insipid, and fatuous; instantly the appetite is dull and desirelesse: instantly the knees are sinking and strengthlesse; and in an instant, sleepe, which is the picture, the copie of death, is taken away, that the Originall, Death it selfe may succeed, and that so I might have death to the life. It was part of Adams punishment, In the sweat of thy browes thou shalt eate thy bread: it is multiplied to me, I have earned bread in the sweat of my browes, in the labor of my calling, and I have it; and I sweat againe, and againe, from the brow, to the sole of the foot, but I eat no bread, I tast no sustenance: Miserable distribution of Mankind, where one halfe lackes meat, and the other stomacke. 

Source :
Donne, John. The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne.
Charles M. Coffin, Ed. New York: Modern Library, 1952. 416-417.
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