Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Songs and Sonnets
The Bait
COME live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.
There will the river whisp’ring run        5
Warm’d by thy 1 eyes, more than the sun;
And there th’ enamour’d 2 fish will stay, 3
Begging themselves they may betray.
When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channel hath,        10
Will amorously to thee swim, 4
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.
If thou, to be so seen, be’st loth,
By sun or moon, thou dark’nest both,
And if myself 5 have leave to see,        15
I need not their light, having thee.
Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells 6 and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset,
With strangling 7 snare, 8 or windowy net.        20
Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;
Or 9 curious traitors, sleeve-silk 10 flies,
Bewitch poor fishes’ wand’ring eyes. 11
For thee, thou need’st no such deceit,        25
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish, that is not catch’d thereby,
Alas! is wiser far 12 than I.
Note 1. l. 6. 1669, thine [back]
Note 2. l. 7. Walton, enamelled [back]
Note 3. l. 7. 1669, play [back]
Note 4. l. 11. Walton. Most amorously to thee will swim [back]
Note 5. l. 15. Walton, mine eyes [back]
Note 6. l. 18. So 1635, Walton; 1633, which shells [back]
Note 7. l. 20. 1669, winding [back]
Note 8. l. 20. Walton, snares [back]
Note 9. l. 23. Walton, Let [back]
Note 10. l. 23. So 1635; 1633, sleeve sick [back]
Note 11. l. 24. Walton, To witch poor wand’ring fishes’ eyes [back]
Note 12. l. 28. Walton, Is wiser far, alas [back]

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