Sunday, April 3, 2011
Sunday poetry - John Donne
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee.
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee, and swear
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know;
Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not, i would not go,
Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two or three.
The other poem is also sad but in a sweetly melancholy way. These lovers are parting but not at their desire & hopefully not forever.
Sweetest love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
A fitter love for me;
But since that I
At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
By feigned deaths to die.
Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here to-day;
He hath no desire or sense,
Nor half so short a way;
Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
More wings and spurs than he.
O how feeble is man's power,
That if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
Nor a lost hour recall;
But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
Itself o'er us to advance.
When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
But sigh'st my soul away;
When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
My life's blood doth decay.
It cannot be
That thou lovest me, as thou say'st,
If in thine my life thou waste,
Thou art the best of me.
Let not thy divining heart
Forethink me any ill;
Destiny may take thy part,
And may thy fears fulfil.
But think that we
Are but turn'd aside to sleep.
They who one another keep
Alive, ne'er parted be.
Last night, while I was thinking about this post, I listened to my ancient audio cassette of the divine Richard Burton reading these two poems & many others. The wonders of YouTube mean that you can listen to him too. Here are links to Richard Burton reading Sweetest Love, I do not go and Go and catch a falling star. There are lots of other readings there as well.