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Passions in PoetryElegy III: Change
by John Donne

 

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Passions in Poetry Home > All Poems > Classic Poetry > John Donne > Elegy IV: The Perfume Elegy IV: The Perfume
John Donne
Poetry | Biography
Elegy III: Change
by John Donne

Although thy hand and faith, and good works too,
Have sealed thy love which nothing should undo,
Yea though thou fall back, that apostasy
Confirm thy love; yet much, much I fear thee.
Women are like the Arts, forced unto to none,
Open to all searchers, unprized if unknown.
If I have caught a bird, and let him fly,
Another fowler using these means, as I,
May catch the same bird; and, as these things be,
Women are made for men, not him, nor me.
Foxes and goats, all beasts, change when they please,
Shall women, more hot, wily, wild than these,
Be bound to one man, and did Nature then
Idly make tham apter t' endure than men?
They're our clogs, not their own; if a man be
Chained to a galley, yet the galley's free;
Who hath a plough-land casts all his seedcorn there,
And yet allows his ground more corn should bear;
Though Danuby into the sea must flow,
The sea receives the Rhine, Volga, and Po.
By Nature, which gave it, this liberty
Thou lov'st, but Oh! canst thou love it and me?
Likeness glues love: and if that thou so do,
To make us like and love, must I change too?
More than thy hate, I hate't; rather let me
Allow her change than change as oft as she,
And so not teach, but force my opinion
To love not any one, nor every one.
To live in one land is captivity,
To run all countries, a wild roguery;
Waters stink soon if in one place they bide,
And in the vast sea are more purified:
But when they kiss one bank, and leaving this
Never look back, but the next bank do kiss,
Then are they purest. Change is the nursery
Of music, joy, life, and eternity.

 

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