Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Appendix A. Doubtful Poems
Believe your Glass
BELIEVE your glass, and it will tell you, dear,
            Your eyes enshrine
            A brighter shine
Than fair Apollo; look if there appear
            The milky sky,        5
            The crimson dye
Mixed in your cheeks; and then bid Phoebus set;
More glory than he owes appears. But yet
… Be not deceived with false alteration:
*        *        *        *        *
            As Cynthia’s globe,        10
            A snow-white robe,
Is soonest spotted; a carnation dye
Fades and discolours, opened but to eye.
Make use of youth and beauty while they flourish,
            Time never sleeps;        15
            Though it but creeps
It still gets forward. Do not vainly nourish
            Them to self-use:
            It is abuse;
The richest grounds lying waste turn bogs and rot,        20
And so being useless were as good were not.
Walk in a meadow by a river-side,
            Upon whose banks
            Grow milk-white ranks
Of full-blown lilies in their height of pride,        25
            Which downward bend,
            And nothing tend
Save their own beauties in their glassy stream:
Look to yourself; compare yourself with them—
In show, in beauty: mark what follows then;        30
            Summer must end,
            The sun must bend
Its long absented beams to others; when
            Their Spring being crossed
            By winter’s frost,        35
And snipped by bitter storms ’gainst which nought boots,
They bend their proud tops lower than their roots.
Then none regard them, but with heedless feet
            In dust each treads
            Their declin’d heads.        40
So when youth’s wasted, Age and you shall meet;
            Then I alone
            Shall sadly moan
That interview; others it will not move;
So light regard we what we little love.        45

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