Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 88-89.
1 Upon this Primrose hill,
2 Where, if heaven would distil
3A shower of rain, each several drop might go
4To his own primrose, and grow manna so;
5And where their form, and their infinity
6 Make a terrestrial galaxy,
7 As the small stars do in the sky:
8I walk to find a true love; and I see
9That 'tis not a mere woman, that is she,
10But must or more or less than woman be.
11 Yet know I not, which flower
12 I wish; a six, or four;
13For should my true-love less than woman be,
14She were scarce anything; and then, should she
15Be more than woman, she would get above
16 All thought of sex, and think to move
17 My heart to study her, and not to love.
18Both these were monsters; since there must reside
19Falsehood in woman, I could more abide,
20She were by art, than nature falsified.
21 Live, primrose, then, and thrive
22 With thy true number five;
23And, woman, whom this flower doth represent,
24With this mysterious number be content;
25Ten is the farthest number; if half ten
26 Belongs to each woman, then
27 Each woman may take half us men;
28Or if this will not serve their turn, since all
29Numbers are odd, or even, and they fall
30First into five, women may take us all.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh