Love's Diet

Original Text: 
Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 45-46.
1To what a cumbersome unwieldiness
2And burdenous corpulence my love had grown,
3    But that I did, to make it less,
4    And keep it in proportion,
5Give it a diet, made it feed upon
6That which love worst endures, discretion.
7Above one sigh a day I allow'd him not,
8Of which my fortune, and my faults had part;
9    And if sometimes by stealth he got
10    A she sigh from my mistress' heart,
11And thought to feast upon that, I let him see
12'Twas neither very sound, nor meant to me.
13If he wrung from me a tear, I brined it so
14With scorn and shame, that him it nourish'd not;
15    If he suck'd hers, I let him know
16    'Twas not a tear which he had got;
17His drink was counterfeit, as was his meat;
18For eyes, which roll towards all, weep not, but sweat.
19Whatever he would dictate I writ that,
20But burnt her letters when she writ to me;
21    And if that favour made him fat,
22    I said, "If any title be
23Convey'd by this, ah, what doth it avail,
24To be the fortieth name in an entail?"
25Thus I reclaim'd my buzzard love, to fly
26At what, and when, and how, and where I choose.
27    Now negligent of sports I lie,
28    And now, as other falconers use,
29I spring a mistress, swear, write, sigh, and weep:
30And the game kill'd, or lost, go talk or sleep.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition: 
2009
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