Love's Exchange

Original Text: 
Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 46-47.
1Love, any devil else but you,
2Would for a given soul give something too.
3    At court your fellows every day,
4Give th' art of rhyming, huntsmanship, or play,
5    For them which were their own before;
6    Only I have nothing, which gave more,
7But am, alas ! by being lowly, lower.
8    I ask no dispensation now
9To falsify a tear, or sigh, or vow,
10    I do not sue from thee to draw
11A non obstante on nature's law,
12    These are prerogatives, they inhere
13    In thee and thine; none should forswear
14Except that he Love's minion were.
15    Give me thy weakness, make me blind,
16Both ways, as thou and thine, in eyes and mind;
17    Love, let me never know that this
18Is love, or, that love childish is.
19    Let me not know that others know
20    That she knows my pain, lest that so
21A tender shame make me mine own new woe.
22    If thou give nothing, yet thou 'rt just,
23Because I would not thy first motions trust;
24    Small towns which stand stiff, till great shot
25Enforce them, by war's law condition not.
26    Such in Love's warfare is my case,
27    I may not article for grace,
28Having put Love at last to show this face.
29    This face, by which he could command
30And change th' idolatry of any land,
31    This face, which, wheresoe'er it comes,
32Can call vow'd men from cloisters, dead from tombs,
33    And melt both poles at once, and store
34    Deserts with cities, and make more
35Mines in the earth, than quarries were before.
36    For this Love is enraged with me,
37Yet kills not. If I must example be
38    To future rebels; if th' unborn
39Must learn by my being cut up and torn,
40    Kill, and dissect me, Love; for this
41    Torture against thine own end is,
42Rack'd carcasses make ill anatomies.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition: 
2009
Rhyme: 
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