To Sir Henry Goodyere
Donne, John. The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters of John Donne. Edited by W. Milgate. London: Oxford University Press, 1967: 78-79.
1Who makes the last a pattern for next year,
2 Turns no new leaf, but still the same things reads,
3Seen things he sees again, heard things doth hear,
4 And makes his life but like a pair of beads.
5A palace, when 'tis that which it should be,
6 Leaves growing, and stands such, or else decays:
7But he which dwells there is not so; for he
8 Strives to surge upward, and his fortune raise.
9So had your body her morning, hath her noon,
10 And shall not better; her next change is night:
11But her fair, larger guest, to whom sun and moon
12 Are sparks, and short-lived, claims another right.
13The noble soul by age grows lustier,
14 Her appetite and her digestion mend.
15We must not starve, nor hope to pamper her
16 With women's milk, and pap, unto the end.
17Provide you manlier diet. You have seen
18 All libraries, which are schools, camps, and courts;
19But ask your garners if you have not been
20 In harvest, too indulgent to your sports.
21Would you redeem it? Then yourself transplant
22 Awhile from hence. Perchance outlandish ground
23Bears no more wit, than ours, but yet more scant
24 Are those diversions there, which here abound.
25To be a stranger hath that benefit,
26 We can beginnings, but not habits choke.
27Go-whither? Hence. You get, if you forget;
28 New faults, till they prescribe to us, are smoke.
29Our soul, whose country's heaven, and God her Father,
30 Into this world, corruption's sink, is sent;
31Yet so much in her travel she doth gather,
32 That she returns home wiser than she went.
33It pays you well, if it teach you to spare,
34 And make you ashamed to make your hawks' praise yours,
35Which when herself she lessens in the air,
36 You then first say, that high enough she towers.
37However, keep the lively taste you hold
38 Of God, love Him as now, but fear Him more,
39And in your afternoons think what you told
40 And promised Him, at morning prayer before.
41Let falsehood like a discord anger you,
42 Else not be froward. But why do I touch
43Things of which none is in your practice new?
44 And fables, or fruit-trenchers teach as much.
45But thus I make you keep your promise, sir,
46 Riding I had you, though you still stay'd there,
47And in these thoughts, although you never stir,
48 You came with me to Mitcham, and are here.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh