Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 12.
1Nature's lay idiot, I taught thee to love,
2And in that sophistry, O, thou dost prove
3Too subtle; fool, thou didst not understand
4The mystic language of the eye nor hand;
5Nor couldst thou judge the difference of the air
6Of sighs, and say, "This lies, this sounds despair";
7Nor by th' eye's water cast a malady
8Desperately hot, or changing feverously.
9I had not taught thee then the alphabet
10Of flowers, how they, devisefully being set
11And bound up, might with speechless secrecy
12Deliver errands mutely, and mutually.
13Remember since all thy words used to be
14To every suitor, "Ay, if my friends agree";
15Since household charms, thy husband's name to teach,
16Were all the love-tricks that thy wit could reach ;
17And since an hour's discourse could scarce have made
18One answer in thee, and that ill arrayed
19In broken proverbs, and torn sentences.
20Thou art not by so many duties his
21That from the world's common having sever'd thee,
22Inlaid thee, neither to be seen, nor see
23As mine ; who have with amorous delicacies
24Refin'd thee into a blissful paradise.
25Thy graces and good works my creatures be;
26I planted knowledge and life's tree in thee;
27Which O ! shall strangers taste? Must I alas
28Frame and enamel plate, and drink in glass?
29Chafe wax for other's seals? break a colt's force,
30And leave him then, being made a ready horse?
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh