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John Donne : Loves Alchymie

Some that have deeper digg’d loves Myne then I,
Say, where his centrique happinesse doth lie:
		I have lov’d, and got, and told,
But should I love, get, tell, till I were old,
I should not finde that hidden mysterie;
		Oh, ’tis imposture all:
And as no chymiques yet th’Elixar got1,
		But glorifies his pregnant pot,
		If by the way to him befall
Some odoriferous thing, or medicinall,
So, lovers dreame a rich and long delight,
But get a winter-seeming summers night.

Our ease, our thrift, our honor, and our day,
Shall we, for this vaine Bubles shadow pay?
		Ends love in this, that my man,
Can be as happy’as I can; If he can
Endure the short scorne of a Bridegroomes play?
		That loving wretch that sweares,
’Tis not the bodies marry, by the mindes,
		Which he in her Angelique findes,
		Would sweare as justly, that he heares,
In that dayes rude hoarse minstralsey, the spheares2.
Hope not for minde in women; at their best
Sweetnesse and wit, they’are but Mummy3, possest. 

John Donne (1572-1631)	P. 1633

 
FOOTNOTES
1 i.e. no alchemists have yet discovered the elixir, a magic substance that was hoped would, among other things, turn base metals to gold and prolong life indefinitely ; 2 he claims to hear the music of the heavens (the spheares) in the rather crude music (minstralsey) performed at the marriage feast ; 3 pun on mummy meaning the dried flesh of an embalmed corpse (much used in alchemy and believed to have great healing powers), and also meaning a married woman
 

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