Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Poetry - John Donne

Well, here's post 501! Thank you for all the lovely comments on my 500th post yesterday. Reading your comments & having conversations with readers who enjoy the same books I do is the best part of blogging. The celebrations continue with a favourite poet, John Donne, & a beautiful poem, Love's Infiniteness.

If yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
Nor can entreat one other tear to fall,
And all my treasure, which should purchase thee,
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent.
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant;
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
Dear, I shall never have thee all.

Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but all, which thou hadst then;
But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall
New love created be, by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For, this love was not vowed by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general;
The ground, thy heart, is mine, whatever shall
Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet;
He that hath all can have no more,
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
If thou canst give it, then thou never gavest it:
Love's riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing savest it:
But we will have a way more liberal,
Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall
Be one, and one another's all.


  1. I love Donne's poetry but I think his prose is even more wonderful. No one else writes with that immaculate sense of balance, rhythm and pattern. It's like listening to Bach.

    1. Yes, Helene Hanff said that reading Donne's sermons was like listening to a Bach fugue. I have a book of the selected prose (Helene would not approve!) & I'd like to read more.

  2. Donne is such a passionate poet... I love his poems, but I've never read any of his prose. I will search for some, on Alex's recommendation.

    1. Chris, there was a Penguin Selected Prose some years ago, that's the book I have. Hopefully there's something out there.