[Portable Poetry ...poems for your pocket]






[The book printer - Amman]

John Donne : The Flea

Marke but this flea, and marke in this,
How little that which thou deny’st me is;
It suck’d me first, and sucks thee,
And in this flea, our two bloods mingled bee;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sinne, nor shame, nor losse of maidenhead, 
	Yet this enjoyes before it wooe,
	And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two,
	And this, alas, is more then wee would doe.

Oh, stay1, three lives in one flea spare,
Where wee almost, yea more than maryed are,
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and mariage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloysterd in these living walls of Jet2.
	Though use make you apt to kill mee,
	Let not to that, selfe murder added bee,
	And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three. 

Cruell and sodaine, hast thou since
Purpled thy naile, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this3 flea guilty bee,
Except in that drop which it suckt from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and saist that thou
Find’st not thy selfe, nor mee the weaker now;
	’Tis true, then learne how false, feares bee;
	Just so much honor, when thou yeeld’st to mee,
	Will wast, as this flea’s death tooke life from thee. 

John Donne (1572-1631)	P. 1633

1 meaning, don’t kill the flea; 2 i.e. the flea’s b ody ; 3 sudden

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.