[Portable Poetry ...poems for your pocket]

HOME

POEMS

CREATE

STUFF

ABOUT

[The book printer - Amman]

John Donne : The Extasie1

Where, like a pillow on a bed1,
	A Pregnant banke swel’d up, to rest
The violets2 reclining head,
	Sat we two, one anothers best.
Our hands were firmely cimented
	With a fast balme3, which thence did spring,
Our eye-beames twisted, and did thred
	Our eyes, upon one double string;
So, to’entergraft our hands, as yet
	Was all the meanes to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
	Was all our propagation.
As ’twixt two equal Armies, Fate
	Suspends uncertaine victorie,
Our soules, (which to advance their state,
	Were gone out,) hung ’twixt her, and mee.
And whil’st our soules negotiate there,
	Wee like sepulchrall statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
	And wee said nothing, all the day.
If any, so by love refin’d,
	That he soules language understood,
And by good love were growen all minde,
	Within convenient distance stood,
He (though he knew not which soule spake,
	Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take,
	And part farre purer then he came.
This Extasie doth unperplex
	(We said) and tell us what we love,
Wee see by this, it was not sexe,
	Wee see, we saw not what did move:
But as all severall soules containe
	Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love, these mixt soules doth mixe againe,
	And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet transplant,
	The strength, the colour, and the size,
(All which before was poore, and scant,)
	Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love, with one another so
	Interinanimates two soules,
That abler soule, which thence doth flow,
	Defects of loneliness controules.
Wee then, who are this new soule, know,
	Of what are compos’d, and made,
For, th’Atomies3 of which we grow,
	Are soules, whom no change can invade.
But O alas, so long, so farre
	Our bodies why doe wee forbeare?
They’are ours, though they’are not wee, Wee are
	The intelligences, they the spheare. 
We owe them thankes, because they thus,
	Did us, to us, at first convay,
Yeelded their forces, sense, to us,
	Nor are drosse4 to us, but allay5.
On man heavens influence workes not so,
	But that it first imprints the ayre,
Soe soule into the soule may flow,
	Though it to body first did repaire.
As our blood labours to beget
	Spirits, as like soules it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
	That subtile knot, which makes us man:
So must pure lovers soules descend
	T’affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
	Else a great Prince in prison lies.
To’our bodies turne wee then, that so
	Weake me on love reveal’d may looke;
Loves mysteries in soules doe grow,
	But yet the body is his booke.
And if some lover, such as wee,
	Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still marke us, he shall see
	Small change, when we’are to bodies gone. 

John Donne (1572-1631)	P. 1633

 
FOOTNOTES
1 here "Extasie" means ectsasy in the religious sense of a trance-like state 2 associated with love; ; 3 sweat ; 4 atoms ; 5 impurities which appear on the surface of melted metals ; 7 alloy
 

If you came here from the main Poems page, the BACK button on your web browser will bring you back there


 

Note 1: When we convert poems to HTML (WEB) format for viewing here, some modifications may occur to the formatting (e.g. indenting) - all poems are correctly formatted for print.

Note 2: if you came to this page following a search engine query, you can find the Portable Poetry home page at www.portablepoetry.com.

Note 3: Feel free to copy these poems and footnotes for your personal and private use. For other uses please get in touch with us first. This poem is believed to be in the public domain. All footnotes are copyright Portable Poetry.