John Donne
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (1633)

1

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

2

And whisper to their souls to go,

3

Whilst some of their sad friends do say

4

"The breath goes now," and some say, "No"

 

 

5

So let us melt, and make no noise,

6

No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

7

‘Twere profanation of our joys

8

To tell the laity our love.

 

 

9

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,

10

Men reckon what it did and meant,

11

But trepidation of the spheres,

12

Though greater far, is innocent.

 

 

13

Dull sublunary lovers’ love

14

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

15

Absence, because it doth remove

16

Those things which elemented it.

 

 

17

But we, by a love so much refined

18

That our selves know not what it is,

19

Inter-assurèd of the mind,

20

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

 

 

21

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

22

Though I must go, endure not yet

23

A breach, but an expansion,

24

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

 

 

25

If they be two, they are two so

26

As stiff twin compasses are two:

27

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

28

To move, but doth, if the other do;

 

 

29

And though it in the centre sit,

30

Yet when the other far doth roam,

31

It leans, and hearkens after it,

32

And grows erect, as that comes home.

 

 

33

Such wilt thou be to me, who must

34

Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;

35

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

36

And makes me end where I begun.