A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

By John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,

Whilst some of their sad friend do say

The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,

No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

‘There profanities of our joys

To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,

Men reckon what it did, and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

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

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion,

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two;

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

To move, but doth, if the other do.

And though it in the center sit,

Yet when the other far doth roam,

It leans and heartens after it,

And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,

Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.

This poem was originally written in 1611 or 1612 and was first published in the 1633 collection Songs and Sonnets. It is now in the public domain.

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