John Donne

A Valediction Forbbiding Morning

    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’.
5   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,
10      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
15   Absence, because it doth remove
       Those things which elemented it.
    But we by a love so much refined,
       That ourselves know not what it is,
    Inter-assured of the mind,
20      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.
25   If they be two, they are two so
       As stiff twin compasses are two;
    Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
       To move, but doth, if th’ other do.
    And though it in the centre sit,
30      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;
35   Thy firmness makes my circle just,
       And makes me end, where I begun.

Robert Clark

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