Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne,/i>. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965:41-42
1 I can love both fair and brown,
2Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
3Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
4 Her whom the country form'd, and whom the town,
5 Her who believes, and her who tries,
6 Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
7 And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
8 I can love her, and her, and you, and you,
9 I can love any, so she be not true.
10 Will no other vice content you?
11Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
12Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others?
13 Or doth a fear that men are true torment you?
14 Oh we are not, be not you so,
15 Let me and do you, twenty know.
16 Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
17 Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
18 Grow your fix'd subject, because you are true?
19 Venus heard me sigh this song,
20And by love's sweetest part, variety, she swore,
21She heard not this till now; and't should be so no more.
22 She went, examin'd, and return'd ere long,
23 And said, "Alas, some two or three
24 Poor heretics in love there be,
25 Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
26 But I have told them, 'Since you will be true,
27 You shall be true to them who're false to you.' "
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh