Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Appendix A. Doubtful Poems
A Paradox
WHOSO terms Love a fire, may like a poet
Feign what he will, for certain cannot show it;
For fire ne’er burns but when the fuel’s near,
But Love doth at most distance most appear;
Yet out of fire water did never go;        5
But tears from Love abundantly do flow;
Fire still mounts upward, but Love oft descendeth;
Fire leaves the midst, Love to the centre tendeth;
Fire drys and hardens, Love doth mollify;
Fire doth consume, but Love doth fructify.        10
    The powerful Queen of Love (fair Venus) came,
Descended from the sea, not from the flame;
Whence passions ebb and flow, and from the brain
Run to the heart, like streams, and back again.
Yea Love oft fills men’s breasts with melting snow,        15
Drowning their love-sick minds in floods of woe.
What, is Love water, then? it may be so;
But he saith truest that saith he doth not know.

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