Complete Poetry and Selected Prose

By John Donne; John Hayward | Go to book overview

HEROICALL EPISTLE

SAPHO TO PHILÆNIS

WHERE is that holy fire, which Verse is said
To have? is that inchanting force decai'd?
Verse that drawes Natures workes, from Natures law,
Thee, her best worke, to her worke cannot draw.
Have my teares quench'd my old Poetique fire;
Why quench'd they not as well, that of desire?
Thoughts, my mindes creatures, often are with thee,
But I, their maker, want their libertie.
Onely thine image, in my heart, doth sit,
But that is waxe, and fires environ it.
My fires have driven, thine have drawne it hence;
And I am rob'd of Picture, Heart, and Sense.
Dwells with me still mine irksome Memory,
Which, both to keepe, and lose, grieves equally.
That tells me'how faire thou art: Thou art so faire,
As, gods, when gods to thee I doe compare,
Are grac'd thereby; And to make blinde men see,
What things gods are, I say they'are like to thee.
For, if we justly call each silly man
A litle world, What shall we call thee then?
Thou art not soft, and cleare, and strait, and faire,
As Down, as Stars, Cedars, and Lillies are,
But thy right hand, and cheek, and eye, only
Are like thy other hand, and cheek, and eye.
Such was my Phao awhile, but shall be never,
As thou, wast, art, and, oh, maist be ever.
Here lovers sweare in their Idolatrie,
That I am such; but Griefe discolors me.
And yet I grieve the lesse, lest Griefe remove
My beauty, and make me'unworthy of thy love.
Plaies some soft boy with thee, oh there wants yet
A mutuall feeling which should sweeten it.

-99-

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Complete Poetry and Selected Prose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Chronological Table xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • The Poems xix
  • Songs & Sonets 1
  • Epigrams 57
  • Elegies and Heroicall Epistle 63
  • Heroicall Epistle 99
  • Epithalamions, Ormarriage Songs 101
  • Satyres 119
  • Verse Letters to Severall Personages 143
  • An Anatomie of the World 1st & 2nd Anniversaries 193
  • Epicedes & Obsequies Epitaphs 229
  • Divine Poems 273
  • Latin Poems and Translations 323
  • The Prose 329
  • Introduction to the Prose Selections 331
  • Paradoxes & Problemes 333
  • Ignatius His Conclave 355
  • Miscellaneous Prose 411
  • Letters 437
  • Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions 505
  • Sermons 553
  • Notes 761
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