The Undertaking

Original Text: 
Donne, John. The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets of John Donne. Edited by Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965: 57.
1I have done one braver thing
2      Than all the Worthies did,
3And yet a braver thence doth spring,
4      Which is, to keep that hid.
5It were but madness now t'impart
6      The skill of specular stone,
7When he, which can have learn'd the art
8      To cut it, can find none.
9So, if I now should utter this,
10      Others (because no more
11Such stuff to work upon, there is,)
12      Would love but as before.
13But he who loveliness within
14      Hath found, all outward loathes,
15For he who color loves, and skin,
16      Loves but their oldest clothes.
17If, as I have, you also do
18      Virtue attir'd in woman see,
19And dare love that, and say so too,
20      And forget the He and She;
21And if this love, though placed so,
22      From profane men you hide,
23Which will no faith on this bestow,
24      Or, if they do, deride:
25Then you have done a braver thing
26      Than all the Worthies did ;
27And a braver thence will spring,
28      Which is, to keep that hid.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition: