Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Letters to Several Personages
To M[r]. B[asil] B[rooke]
 
IS not thy sacred hunger of science
  Yet satisfied? is not thy brain’s rich hive
  Fulfill’d with honey, which thou dost derive
From the arts’ spirits and their quintessence?
Then wean thyself at last, and thee withdraw        5
  From Cambridge thy old nurse, and, as the rest,
  Here toughly chew, and sturdily digest
Th’ immense vast volumes of our common law.
And begin soon, lest my grief grieve thee too,
  Which is, that that, which I should have begun        10
  In my youth’s morning, now late must be done;
And I, as giddy travellers must do,
  Which stray or sleep all day, and having lost
  Light and strength, dark and tired must then ride post.
 
If thou unto thy Muse be married,        15
  Embrace her ever, ever multiply;
  Be far from me that strange adultery
To tempt thee, and procure her widowhood.
My Muse 1—for I had one—because I’m cold,
  Divorced herself, the cause being in me.        20
  That I can take no new in bigamy,
Not my will only, but power doth withhold.
Hence comes it, that these rhymes which never had
  Mother, want matter, and they only have
  A little form, the which their father gave;        25
They are profane, imperfect—O, too bad
  To be counted children of poetry,
  Except confirm’d and bishoped by thee.
 
Note 1. l. 19 So Addl. MS. 18,647; 1633; My nurse [back]
 
 
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