The Bait

Original Text: 
John Donne, Poems, by J. D. With elegies on the authors death (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1633). MICF no. 556 ROBA. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar Press, 1969. PR 2245 A2 1633A. STC 7045.
2And we will some new pleasures prove
3Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
4With silken lines, and silver hooks.
5There will the river whispering run
6Warm'd by thy eyes, more than the sun;
7And there the 'enamour'd fish will stay,
8Begging themselves they may betray.
9When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
10Each fish, which every channel hath,
11Will amorously to thee swim,
12Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.
13If thou, to be so seen, be'st loth,
14By sun or moon, thou dark'nest both,
15And if myself have leave to see,
16I need not their light having thee.
17Let others freeze with angling reeds,
18And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
19Or treacherously poor fish beset,
20With strangling snare, or windowy net.
21Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
22The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;
23Or curious traitors, sleeve-silk flies,
24Bewitch poor fishes' wand'ring eyes.
25For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
26For thou thyself art thine own bait:
27That fish, that is not catch'd thereby,
28Alas, is wiser far than I.


1] A parody of Marlowe's popular pastoral, "Come live with me and be my love." Also cf. Ralegh, "The Nymph's Reply." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.170.