Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Selected Poems

Selected Poems

4.7 3
by John Donne

See All Formats & Editions

Rich selection of 73 works from the Songs and Sonnets, Elegies, Holy Sonnets and other verse forms by foremost English "metaphysical" poet. Included are "The Good Morrow," "The Canonization," "The Relic," "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," "To His Mistress Going to Bed," "Death Be Not Proud," "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward," "Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness


Rich selection of 73 works from the Songs and Sonnets, Elegies, Holy Sonnets and other verse forms by foremost English "metaphysical" poet. Included are "The Good Morrow," "The Canonization," "The Relic," "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," "To His Mistress Going to Bed," "Death Be Not Proud," "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward," "Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness" and many more. Note. Alphabetical lists of titles and first lines. Includes 2 selections from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "Song" and "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning."

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Thrift Editions
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
789 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Selected Poems


Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1993 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15359-9


    The Good Morrow

    I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
    Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then?
    But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
    Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den?
    'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
    If ever any beauty I did see,
    Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

    And now good morrow to our waking souls,
    Which watch not one another out of fear;
    For love, all love of other sights controls,
    And makes one little room, an everywhere.
    Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
    Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
    Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

    My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
    And true plain hearts do in the faces rest,
    Where can we find two better hemispheres
    Without sharp north, without declining west?
    Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
    If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
    Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.


    Go, and catch a falling star,
    Get with child a mandrake root,
    Tell me, where all past years are,
    Or who cleft the devil's foot,
    Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
    Or to keep off envy's stinging,
    And find
    What wind
    Serves to advance an honest mind.

    If thou beest born to strange sights,
    Things invisible to see,
    Ride ten thousand days and nights,
    Till age snow white hairs on thee,
    Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
    All strange wonders that befell thee,
    And swear
    Lives a woman true, and fair.

    If thou findst one, let me know,
    Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
    Yet do not, I would not go,
    Though at next door we might meet,
    Though she were true, when you met her,
    And last, till you write your letter,
    Yet she
    Will be
    False, ere I come, to two, or three.

    Woman's Constancy

    Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
    Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
    Wilt thou then antedate some new made vow?
    Or say that now
    We are not just those persons, which we were?
    Or, that oaths made in reverential fear
    Of love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
    Or, as true deaths, true marriages untie,
    So lovers' contracts, images of those,
    Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose?
    Or, your own end to justify,
    For having purposed change, and falsehood, you
    Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
    Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
    Dispute, and conquer, if I would,
    Which I abstain to do,
    For by tomorrow, I may think so too.

    The Undertaking

    I have done one braver thing
    Than all the Worthies did,
    And yet a braver thence doth spring,
    Which is, to keep that hid.

    It were but madness now t'impart
    The skill of specular stone,
    When he which can have learned the art
    To cut it, can find none.

    So, if I now should utter this,
    Others (because no more
    Such stuff to work upon, there is,)
    Would love but as before.

    But he who loveliness within
    Hath found, all outward loathes,
    For he who color loves, and skin,
    Loves but their oldest clothes.

    If, as I have, you also do
    Virtue attired in woman see,
    And dare love that, and say so too,
    And forget the he and she;

    And if this love, though placed so,
    From profane men you hide,
    Which will no faith on this bestow,
    Or, if they do, deride:

    Then you have done a braver thing
    Than all the Worthies did;
    And a braver thence will spring,
    Which is, to keep that hid.

    The Sun Rising

    Busy old fool, umuly sun,
    Why dost thou thus,
    Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
    Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
    Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
    Late schoolboys, and sour prentices,
    Go tell court-huntsmen, that the King will ride,
    Call country ants to harvest offices;
    Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
    Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

    Thy beams, so reverend, and strong
    Why shouldst thou think?
    I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
    But that I would not lose her sight so long:
    If her eyes have not blinded thine,
    Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
    Whether both the Indias of spice and mine
    Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
    Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
    And thou shalt hear, all here in one bed lay

    She is all states, and all princes, I,
    Nothing else is.
    Princes do but play us; compared to this,
    All honor's mimic; all wealth alchemy.
    Thou sun art half as happy as we,
    In that the world's contracted thus;
    Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
    To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
    Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
    This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

    The Indifferent

    I can love both fair and brown,
    Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
    Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
    Her whom the country formed, and whom the town,
    Her who believes, and her who tries,
    Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
    And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
    I can love her, and her, and you and you,
    I can love any, so she be not true.

    Will no other vice content you?
    Will it not serve your turn to do, as did your mothers?
    Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others?
    Or doth a fear, that men are true, torment you?
    Oh we are not, be not you so,
    Let me, and do you, twenty know.
    Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
    Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
    Grow your fixed subject, because you are true?

    Venus heard me sigh this song,
    And by love's sweetest part, variety, she swore,
    She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
    She went, examined, and returned ere long,
    And said, "Alas, some two or three
    Poor heretics in love there be,
    Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
    But I have told them, 'Since you will be true,
    You shall be true to them, who are false to you.' "

    The Canonization

    For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
    Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
    My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout,
    With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,
    Take you a course, get you a place,
    Observe his Honor, or his Grace,
    Or the Kings real, or his stamped face
    Contemplate; what you will, approve,
    So you will let me love.

    Alas, alas, who's injured by my love?
    What merchant's ships have my sighs drowned?
    Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?
    When did my colds a forward spring remove?
    When did the heats which my veins fill
    Add one more to the plaguy bill?
    Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
    Litigious men, which quarrels move,
    Though she and I do love.

    Call us what you will, we are made such by love;
    Call her one, me another fly,
    We are tapers too, and at our own cost die,
    And we in us find the eagle and the dove.
    The phoenix riddle hath more wit
    By us; we two being one, are it.
    So to one neutral thing both sexes fit,
    We die and rise the same, and prove
    Mysterious by this love.

    We can die by it, if not live by love,
    And if unfit for tombs and hearse
    Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;
    And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
    We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms;
    As well a well wrought urn becomes
    The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs,
    And by these hymns, all shall approve
    Us canonized for love.

    And thus invoke us: "You whom reverend love
    Made one another's hermitage;
    You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
    Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove
    Into the glasses of your eyes
    (So made such mirrors, and such spies,

    That they did all to you epitomize)
    Countries, towns, courts: beg from above
    A pattern of your love!"

    The Triple Fool

    I am two fools, I know,
    For loving, and for saying so
    In whining poetry;
    But where's that wiseman, that would not be I,
    If she would not deny?
    Then as th'earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
    Do purge seawater's fretful salt away,
    I thought, if I could draw my pains
    Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.
    Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
    For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

    But when I have done so,
    Some man, his art and voice to show,
    Doth set and sing my pain,
    And, by delighting many, frees again
    Grief, which verse did restrain.
    To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
    But not of such as pleases when 'tis read,
    Both are increased by such songs:
    For both their triumphs so are published,
    And I, which was two fools, do so grow three;
    Who are a little wise, the best fools be.


    Sweetest love, I do not go,
    For weariness of thee,
    Nor in hope the world can show
    A fitter love for me;
    But since that I
    Must die at last, 'tis best,
    To use myself in jest
    Thus by feigned deaths to die.

    Yesternight the sun went hence,
    And yet is here today,
    He hath no desire nor sense,
    Nor half so short a way:
    Then fear not me,
    But believe that I shall make
    Speedier journeys, since I take
    More wings and spurs than he.

    O how feeble is man's power,
    That if good fortune fall,
    Cannot add another hour,
    Nor a lost hour recall!
    But come bad chance,
    And we join to it our strength,
    And we teach it art and length,
    Itself o'er us to advance.

    When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
    But sigh'st my soul away,
    When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
    My life's blood doth decay.
    It cannot be
    That thou lov'st me, as thou say'st,
    If in thine my life thou waste,
    That art the best of me.

    Let not thy divining heart
    Forethink me any ill,
    Destiny may take thy part,
    And may thy fears fulfill;
    But think that we
    Are but turned aside to sleep;
    They who one another keep
    Alive, ne'er parted be.

    The Legacy

    When I died last, and, dear, I die
    As often as from thee I go,
    Though it be but an hour ago,
    And lovers' hours be full eternity,
    I can remember yet, that I
    Something did say, and something did bestow;
    Though I be dead, which sent me, I should be
    Mine own executor and legacy.

    I heard me say, Tell her anon,
    That myself (that is you, not I)
    Did kill me, and when I felt me die,
    I bid me send my heart, when I was gone,
    But I alas could there find none,
    When I had ripped me, and searched where hearts did lie;
    It killed me again, that I who still was true,
    In life, in my last will should cozen you.

    Yet I found something like a heart,
    But colors it, and corners had,
    It was not good, it was not bad,
    It was entire to none, and few had part.
    As good as could be made by art
    It seemed; and therefore for our losses sad,
    I meant to send this heart instead of mine,
    But oh, no man could hold it, for 'twas thine.


Excerpted from Selected Poems by JOHN DONNE. Copyright © 1993 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

John Donne (1572–1631) was the most outstanding of the English metaphysical poets and a churchman famous for his spellbinding sermons.
Ilona Bell is a professor of English at Williams College. She has published widely on Renaissance literature and is the author of several books on John Donne.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Selected Poems 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent poetry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was pointed out to me when i saw that the poetry from 'Tristan and Isolde' (2006) the poems have so much emotions and feelings toward life and love.