Holy Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not Proud (John Donne)

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Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (John Donne)

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

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On His Mistress (John Donne)

By our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires which thereof did ensue,
By our long starving hopes, by that remorse
Which my words masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts, which spies and rivals threaten’d me,
I calmly beg. But by thy father’s wrath,
By all pains, which want and divorcement hath,
I conjure thee, and all the oaths which I
And thou have sworn to seal joint constancy,
Here I unswear, and over-swear them thus;
Thou shalt not love by ways so dangerous.
Temper, O fair love, love’s impetuous rage;
Be my true mistress still, not my feign’d page.
I’ll go, and, by thy kind leave, leave behind
Thee, only worthy to nurse in my mind
Thirst to come back; O, if thou die before,
My soul from other lands to thee shall soar.
Thy (else almighty) beauty cannot move
Rage from the seas, nor thy love teach them love,
Nor tame wild Boreas’ harshness; thou hast read
How roughly he in pieces shivered
Fair Orithea, whom he swore he loved.
Fall ill or good, ’tis madness to have proved
Dangers unurg’d; feed on this flattery,
That absent lovers one in th’ other be.
Dissemble nothing, not a boy, nor change
Thy body’s habit, nor mind ; be not strange
To thyself only. All will spy in thy face
A blushing womanly discovering grace.
Richly cloth’d apes are call’d apes, and as soon
Eclipsed as bright, we call the moon the moon.
Men of France, changeable chameleons,
Spitals of diseases, shops of fashions,
Love’s fuellers, and the rightest company
Of players, which upon the world’s stage be,
Will quickly know thee, and know thee; and alas
Th’ indifferent Italian, as we pass
His warm land, well content to think thee page,
Will hunt thee with such lust, and hideous rage,
As Lot’s fair guests were vexed. But none of these
Nor spongy hydroptic Dutch shall thee displease,
If thou stay here. O stay here, for, for thee
England is only a worthy gallery,
To walk in expectation, till from thence
Our greatest king call thee to his presence.
When I am gone, dream me some happiness ;
Nor let thy looks our long-hid love confess ;
Nor praise, nor dispraise me, nor bless nor curse
Openly love’s force, nor in bed fright thy nurse
With midnight’s startings, crying out, O, O,
Nurse, O my love is slain; I saw him go
O’er the white Alps alone; I saw him, I,
Assailed, fight, taken, stabb’d, bleed, fall, and die.
Augur me better chance, except dread Jove
Think it enough for me to have had thy love.