by John Donne

    I am two fools, I know,
    For loving, and for saying so
        In whining poetry ;
But where's that wise man, that would not be I,
        If she would not deny ?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
    Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
    Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

    But when I have done so,
    Some man, his art and voice to show,
        Doth set and sing my pain ;
And, by delighting many, frees again
        Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
    But not of such as pleases when 'tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
    For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 14.

sound recording
©2003 Anniina Jokinen

Woman in Blue reading a Letter, 1662-4. Jan Vermeer.

to John Donne

Copyright © 1996-2003 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on May 21, 1996. Last updated September 8, 2003.

Background by the kind permission of Stormi Wallpaper Boutique.