by John Donne

    Some man unworthy to be possessor
Of old or new love, himself being false or weak,
    Thought his pain and shame would be lesser,
If on womankind he might his anger wreak ;
        And thence a law did grow,
        One might but one man know ;
        But are other creatures so?

    Are sun, moon, or stars by law forbidden
To smile where they list, or lend away their light?
    Are birds divorced or are they chidden
If they leave their mate, or lie abroad a night?
        Beasts do no jointures lose
        Though they new lovers choose ;
        But we are made worse than those.

    Who e'er rigg'd fair ships to lie in harbours,
And not to seek lands, or not to deal with all?
    Or built fair houses, set trees, and arbours,
Only to lock up, or else to let them fall?
        Good is not good, unless
        A thousand it possess,
        But doth waste with greediness.

Audio Reading by Anniina Jokinen, ©2003.


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Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 37.

to John Donne

Copyright © 1996-2014 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinenon January 2, 2000. Last updated July 11, 2014.