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Passions in PoetryThe Prohibition
by John Donne

 

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Passions in Poetry Home > All Poems > Classic Poetry > John Donne > Self-Love Self-Love
John Donne
Poetry | Biography
The Prohibition
by John Donne

Take heed of loving me;
At least remember I forbade it thee;
Not that I shall repair my unthrifty waste
Of breath and blood, upon thy sighs and tears,
By being to thee then what to me thou wast;
But so great joy our life at once outwears;
Then, lest thy love by my death frustrate be,
If thou love me, take heed of loving me.

Take heed of hating me,
Or too much triumph in the victory;
Not that I shall be mine own officer,
And hate with hate again retaliate;
But thou wilt lose the style of conqueror
If I, thy conquest, perish by thy hate;
Then, lest my being nothing lessen thee,
If thou hate me, take heed of hating me.

Yet, love and hate me too;
So, these extremes shall neither's office do;
Love me, that I may die the gentler way;
Hate me, because thy love is too great for me;
Or let these two themselves, not me, decay;
So shall I live thy stage, not triumph be;
Lest thou thy love and hate and me undo,
To let me live, O love and hate me too.

 

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