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 Sir Tho. Rowe
 
1603

  DEAR TOM
Tell her, if she to hired servants show
Dislike, before they take their leave, they go,
When nobler spirits start at no disgrace;
For who hath but one mind, hath but one face.
If then why I take not my leave she ask,        5
Ask her again why she did not unmask.
Was she or proud or cruel, or knew she
’Twould make my loss more felt, and pitied me?
Or did she fear one kiss might stay for moe?
Or else was she unwilling I should go?        10
I think the best, and love so faithfully,
I cannot choose but think that she loves me.
If this prove not my faith, then let her try
How in her service I would fructify.
Ladies have boldly loved; bid her renew        15
That decay’d worth, and prove the times past true.
Then he whose wit and verse grows now so lame,
With songs to her will the wild Irish tame.
Howe’er, I’ll wear the black and white ribband;
White for her fortunes, black for mine shall stand.        20
I do esteem her favour, not the stuff;
If what I have was given, I have enough.
And all’s well, for had she loved, I’d not had
All my friend’s hate; for now departing sad
I feel not that; yet as the rack the gout        25
Cures, so hath this worse grief that quite put out.
My first disease naught but that worse cureth,
Which, I dare foresay, nothing cures but death.
Tell her all this, before I am forgot,
That not too late she grieve she loved me not.        30
  Burden’d with this, I was to depart less
  Willing than those which die, and not confess.
 
 
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