Love's Deity

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
1I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
2    Who died before the god of love was born.
3I cannot think that he, who then lov'd most,
4    Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn.
5But since this god produc'd a destiny,
6And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be,
7    I must love her, that loves not me.
8  Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much,
9    Nor he in his young godhead practis'd it.
10But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
11    His office was indulgently to fit
12Actives to passives. Correspondency
13Only his subject was; it cannot be
14    Love, till I love her, that loves me.
15  But every modern god will now extend
16    His vast prerogative as far as Jove.
17To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
18    All is the purlieu of the god of love.
19O! were we waken'd by this tyranny
20To ungod this child again, it could not be
21    I should love her, who loves not me.
22  Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I,
23    As though I felt the worst that love could do?
24Love might make me leave loving, or might try
25    A deeper plague, to make her love me too;
26Which, since she loves before, I'am loth to see.
27Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be,
28    If she whom I love, should love me.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP 1. 274.