by John Donne
I'll tell thee now (dear love) what thou shalt do
To anger destiny, as she doth us;
How I shall stay, though she eloign me thus,
And how posterity shall know it too;
How thine may out endure
Sibyl's glory, and obscure
Her who from Pindar could allure,
and her, through whose help Lucan is not lame,
And her, whose book (they say) Homer did find, and name.
Sutdy our manuscripts, those myriads
Or letters, which have past 'twixt thee and me;
Thence write our annals, and in them will be
To all whom love's subliming fire invades,
Rule and example found;
There the faith of any ground
No schmismatic will dare to wound,
That sees, how Love this grace to us affords,
To make, to keep to use to be these his records.
This as long-lived as the elements,
Or as the world's form this all-graved tome
In cypher writ, or new idiom;
We for Love's clergy only are instruments;
When thisbook is made thus,
Should again the ravenous
Vandals and goths invade us,
Learning were safe; in this our universe,
Schools might learn sciences, sphere's music, angel's verse.
Here Love's divines--since all divinity
Is love or wonder--may find all they seek,
Whether abstract spiritual love they like,
Their souls exhaled with what they do not see;
Or loth so to amuse
Faith's infirmity, they choose
Something which they may see and use;
For though mind be the heaven, where love doth sit,
Beauty a convenient type may be to figure it.
Here more than in their books may lawyers find,
Both what titles mistresses are ours,
And how prerogative these states devours,
Transferr'd from Love himself, to womankind;
Who, though from heart and eyes,
They exact great subsidies,
Forsake him who on them relies;
And for the cause, honour, or conscience give;
Chimeras vain as they or their prerogative.
Here statesmen--or of them, they which can read--
May of their occupation find the grounds;
Love, and their art, alike it deadly wounds,
If to consider what 'tis one proceed.
In both they do excel
Who the present govern well,
Whose weakness none doth, or dares tell;
In this thy book, such will there something see,
As in the Bible some can find out alchemy.
Thus vent they thoughts; abroad I'll study thee,
As he removes far off, that great heights takes;
How great love is, presence best trial makes,
But absense tries how long this love will be;
To take a latitude
Sun, or stars, are fitliest view'd
At their brightest, but to conclude
Of longitudes what other way have we
But to mark when and where the dark eclipses be?