JOHN DONNE (1572 – 1631)

John-Donne-Biography

Air and Angels

Twice or thrice had I lov’d thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp’d be;
         Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
         But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
         More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
         And therefore what thou wert, and who,
                I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.
Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love’s pinnace overfraught;
         Ev’ry thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
         For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scatt’ring bright, can love inhere;
         Then, as an angel, face, and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure, doth wear,
         So thy love may be my love’s sphere;
                Just such disparity
As is ‘twixt air and angels’ purity,
‘Twixt women’s love, and men’s, will ever be.

John Donne

I have always had a passion for John Donne, his poetry seems very modern in comparison with his contemporaries, like Shakespeare or even Milton.

He grudgingly became an ordained minister at the constant requests of the King, but his poetry speaks of a worldliness usually denied by preachers.

Dale

5 thoughts on “JOHN DONNE (1572 – 1631)

  1. I believe this poem is by Louise Gluck from her ‘Ararat’ collection (1990), though (weirdly) it appears to be ascribed to John Donne in some places. I suspect that Donne’s poetry has been described as ‘celestial music’ at some point. Possibly by Dryden?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’VE CHANGED THE POEM… VERY SHEEPISH… TEACH ME TO USE THE INTERNET WHEN I HAVE THE ORIGINAL ANTHOLOGY ON MY BOOKSHELF.

      Like

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