The Dream

Original Text: 
John Donne, Poems, by J. D. With elegies on the authors death (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1633). MICF no. 556 Robarts Library. Facs. edn. (Menston: Scolar Press, 1969). PR 2245 A2 1633A. STC 7045
1Dear love, for nothing less than thee
2Would I have broke this happy dream;
3        It was a theme
4For reason, much too strong for fantasy,
5Therefore thou wak'd'st me wisely; yet
6My dream thou brok'st not, but continued'st it.
7Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
8To make dreams truths, and fables histories;
9Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,
10Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.
11  As lightning, or a taper's light,
12Thine eyes, and not thy noise wak'd me;
13        Yet I thought thee
14(For thou lovest truth) an angel, at first sight;
15But when I saw thou sawest my heart,
17When thou knew'st what I dreamt, when thou knew'st when
18Excess of joy would wake me, and cam'st then,
19I must confess, it could not choose but be
20Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.
21  Coming and staying show'd thee, thee,
22But rising makes me doubt, that now
23        Thou art not thou.
24That love is weak where fear's as strong as he;
25'Tis not all spirit, pure and brave,
26If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have;
27Perchance as torches, which must ready be,
28Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;
29Thou cam'st to kindle, goest to come; then I
30Will dream that hope again, but else would die.


16] Grierson points out that according to the mediaeval Schoolmen the angels are unable to read the thoughts of men. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP 1. 273.