Sunday Poetry – John Donne

A beautiful poem, known only as Song, about parting & constancy. It’s always been a favourite of mine and, as I bring my season of John Donne Sunday Poetry to a close, I thought it was time for this gently melancholy poem.

Sweetest love, I do not go,
    For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
    A fitter love for me;
        But since that I
At the last must part, ’tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
    By feigned deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
    And yet is here to-day;
He hath no desire nor sense,
    Nor half so short a way;
        Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
    More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man’s power,
    That if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
    Nor a lost hour recall;
        But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
    Itself o’er us to advance.

When thou sigh’st, thou sigh’st not wind,
    But sigh’st my soul away;
When thou weep’st, unkindly kind,
    My life’s blood doth decay.
        It cannot be
That thou lovest me as thou say’st,
If in thine my life thou waste,
    That art the best of me.

Let not thy divining heart
    Forethink me any ill;
Destiny may take thy part,
    And may thy fears fulfil.
        But think that we
Are but turn’d aside to sleep.
They who one another keep
    Alive, ne’er parted be.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – John Donne

  1. Just to say how much I enjoyed your selection of Donne's work. I've loved his poems since reading 'By our first strange and fatal interview…' when I was at school. That first line caught my imagination, and I've been hooked ever since. I adore his passion, and the way he uses languages and expresses ideas, and how he writes about love (and life). So thank you for some wonderful Sunday reading.

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  2. Thank you Christine, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I could have gone on with Donne as I have a lot of favourites but thought I should move on. I'm thinking of a month of WWI poetry with Remembrance Day coming up & then I'll have a look at my anthologies & see what takes my fancy. I have a big Oxford anthology of 19th century women's poetry so it might be that.

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