The Broken Heart
Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 51-52.
1He is stark mad, whoever says,
2 That he hath been in love an hour,
3Yet not that love so soon decays,
4 But that it can ten in less space devour;
5Who will believe me, if I swear
6That I have had the plague a year?
7 Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
8 I saw a flash of powder burn a day?
9Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
10 If once into love's hands it come!
11All other griefs allow a part
12 To other griefs, and ask themselves but some;
13They come to us, but us love draws,
14He swallows us and never chaws:
15 By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die,
16 He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.
17If 'twere not so, what did become
18 Of my heart when I first saw thee?
19I brought a heart into the room,
20 But from the room I carried none with me.
21If it had gone to thee, I know
22Mine would have taught thine heart to show
23 More pity unto me: but Love, alas,
24 At one first blow did shiver it as glass.
25Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
26 Nor any place be empty quite,
27Therefore I think my breast hath all
28 Those pieces still, though they be not unite;
29And now, as broken glasses show
30A hundred lesser faces, so
31 My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
32 But after one such love, can love no more.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh