Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Elegies
III. Change
 
ALTHOUGH thy hand and faith, and good works 1 too,
Have seal’d thy love which nothing should undo,
Yea, though thou fall back, that apostasy
Confirm 2 thy love, yet much, much I fear thee.
Women are like the arts, forced unto none,        5
Open to all searchers, unprized, if unknown.
If I have caught a bird, and let him fly,
Another fowler using these 3 means, as I,
May catch the same bird; and, as these things be,
Women are made for men, not him nor me.        10
Foxes, and goats—all beasts 4—change when they please.
Shall women, more hot, wily, wild than these,
Be bound to one man, and did nature 5 then
Idly make them apter to endure than men?
They’re our clogs, not their own; if a man be        15
Chain’d to a galley, yet the galley’s free.
Who hath a plough-land, casts all his seed corn there,
And yet allows his ground more corn should bear;
Though Danuby into the sea must flow,
The sea receives the Rhine, Volga, and Po.        20
By nature, which gave it, this liberty
Thou lovest, but O! canst thou love it and me?
Likeness glues love; and if that thou so do,
To make us like and love, must I change too?
More than thy hate, I hate it; rather let me        25
Allow her change, then change as oft as she,
And so not teach, but force my opinion,
To love not any one, nor every one.
To live in one land is captivity,
To run all countries a wild roguery.        30
Waters stink soon, if in one place they bide, 6
And in the vast sea are more putrified; 7
But when they kiss one bank, and leaving this
Never look back, but the next bank do kiss,
Then are they purest; change is the nursery        35
Of music, joy, life, and eternity.
 
Note 1. l. 1. 1669, good word [back]
Note 2. l. 4. 1669, confirms [back]
Note 3. l. 8. 1669, those [back]
Note 4. l. 11. 1669, and beasts [back]
Note 5. l. 13. bid nature [back]
Note 6. l. 31. 1669, they abide [back]
Note 7. l. 32. 1669, worse purified [back]
 
 
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