Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Song: ‘Sweetest love, I do not go’
By John Donne (1572–1631)
SWEETEST love, I do not go
  For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
  A fitter love for me;
      But since that I        5
Must die at last, ’tis best
Thus to use myself 1 in jest,
      By feignèd death to die.
Yesternight the sun went hence,
  And yet is here to-day;        10
He hath no desire nor sense,
  Nor half so short a way.
      Then fear not 2 me,
But believe that I shall make
Hastier journeys, since I take        15
      More wings and spurs than he.
O how feeble is man’s power,
  That, if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
  Nor a lost hour recall.        20
      But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
      Itself o’er us t’ advance.
When thou sigh’st, thou sigh’st no wind,        25
  But sigh’st my soul away;
When thou weep’st, unkindly kind,
  My life’s blood doth decay.
      It cannot be
That thou lov’st me as thou say’st,        30
If in thine my life thou waste,
      That art the best of me.
Let not thy divining heart
      Forethink me any ill.
Destiny may take thy part        35
  And may thy fears fulfil;
      But think that we
Are but turned aside to sleep:
They who one another keep
      Alive, ne’er parted be.        40
Note 1. Use myself: accustom myself. [back]
Note 2. Fear not: for me. [back]

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