Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Poetry - John Donne

I'm going to feature my favourite poems over the next few weeks. John Donne has always been a favourite, one of the few writers that I still love after studying them at school (John Steinbeck didn't survive this test). When I think of this poem, A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning, I always hear Richard Burton reading it.

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
'The breath goes now,' and some say, 'No:'

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refin'd,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.


  1. I love how your varied selection of poems. Last week we had simplicity and cosy domesticity from Eleanor Farjeon. This week we have a much more complex look at love and philosophy from John Donne, one of my favourite poets. And I love them both!

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy them. Donne is one of my very favourite poets too.

  2. One of my absolute favourites - and, as you say, untainted by school (miraculously!). A delight to read.

    1. I think Donne was the only author who survived the Eng Lit experience!