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John Donne : The Canonization

For Godsake hold your tongue, and let me love,
	Or chide my palsie, or my gout,
My five gray haires, or ruin’d fortune flout,
	With wealth your state, your minde with Arts 
		Take you a course, get you a place,
		Observe his honour, or his grace,
Or the Kings reall, or his stamped face1
	Contemplate, what you will, approve,
	So you will let me love.

Alas, alas, who’s injur’d by my love?
	What merchants ships have my sighs drown’d?
Who saies my teares have overflow’d his ground?
	When did my colds a forward2 spring remove?
		When did the heats which my veines fill
		Add one more to the plaguie Bill?3
Soldiers finde warres, and Lawyers finde out still
	Litigious men, which quarrels move,
	Though she and I do love. 

Call us what you will, wee are made such by love;
	Call her one, mee another flye,
We’are Tapers too, and at our owne cost die, 4
	And wee in us finde the’Eagle and the Dove.5
		The Phśnix6 ridle hath more wit
		By us, we two being one, are it.
So, to one neutrall thing both sexes fit,
	Wee dye and rise the same, and prove
	Mysteriously by this love. 

Wee can dye by it, if not live by love,
	And if unfit for tombes and hearse
Our legend bee, it will be fit for verse;
	And if no peece of Chronicle wee prove,
		We’ll build in sonnets pretty roomes;
		As well a well wrought urne becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombes,
	And by these hymnes, all shall approve
	Us Canoniz’d for Love:

And thus invoke us; You whom reverend love
	Made one anothers hermitage;
You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
	Who did the whole worlds soule contract, and drove
		Into the glasses of your eyes
		So such mirrors, and such spies,
That they did all to you epitomize,
	Countries, Townes, Courts: Beg from above
	A patterne of your love!7

John Donne (1572-1631)	P. 1633

1 i.e., on a coin; 2 early; 3 the list of those dead from the plague; 4 i.e. as tapers (candles) attract flies and moths, so we are attracted to each other and die for it through our orgasms, the belief being that orgasms shortened one’s life span; 5 the Eagle is a symbol of strength and the dove of peace and gentleness; 6 a mythical bird that burned itself on a funeral pyre every five hundred years to rise again from its own ashes. The phoenix was thought to possess both sexes. 7 the interpretation of this verse is not straightforward and there may be a case for substituting the “your” of the final line with “our”.

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