Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 61-62.
1Oh do not die, for I shall hate
2 All women so, when thou art gone,
3That thee I shall not celebrate,
4 When I remember thou was one.
5But yet thou canst not die, I know;
6 To leave this world behind, is death,
7But when thou from this world wilt go,
8 The whole world vapours with thy breath.
9Or if, when thou, the world's soul, goes,
10 It stay, 'tis but thy carcass then,
11The fairest woman, but thy ghost,
12 But corrupt worms, the worthiest men.
13Oh wrangling schools, that search what fire
14 Shall burn this world, had none the wit
15Unto this knowledge to aspire,
16 That this her fever might be it?
17And yet she cannot waste by this,
18 Nor long bear this torturing wrong,
19For more corruption needful is,
20 To fuel such a fever long.
21These burning fits but meteors be,
22 Whose matter in thee is soon spent.
23Thy beauty, and all parts, which are thee,
24 Are unchangeable firmament.
25Yet 'twas of my mind, seizing thee,
26 Though it in thee cannot persevere.
27For I had rather owner be
28 Of thee one hour, than all else ever.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh