The Canonization by John Donne

FOR God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love ;

Or chide my palsy, or my gout ;

My five gray hairs, or ruin’d fortune flout ;

With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve ;

Take you a course, get you a place,

Observe his Honour, or his Grace ;

Or the king’s real, or his stamp’d face

Contemplate ; what you will, approve,

So you will let me love.
Alas ! alas ! who’s injured by my love?

What merchant’s ships have my sighs drown’d?

Who says my tears have overflow’d his ground?

When did my colds a forward spring remove?

When did the heats which my veins fill

Add one more to the plaguy bill?

Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still

Litigious men, which quarrels move,

Though she and I do love.
Call’s what you will, we are made such by love ;

Call her one, me another fly,

We’re tapers too, and at our own cost die,

And we in us find th’ eagle and the dove.

The phoenix riddle hath more wit

By us ; we two being one, are it ;

So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit.

We die and rise the same, and prove

Mysterious by this love.
We can die by it, if not live by love,

And if unfit for tomb or hearse

Our legend be, it will be fit for verse ;

And if no piece of chronicle we prove,

We’ll build in sonnets pretty rooms ;

As well a well-wrought urn becomes

The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs,

And by these hymns, all shall approve

Us canonized for love ;
And thus invoke us, “You, whom reverend love

Made one another’s hermitage ;

You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage ;

Who did the whole world’s soul contract, and drove

Into the glasses of your eyes ;

So made such mirrors, and such spies,

That they did all to you epitomize—

Countries, towns, courts beg from above

A pattern of your love.”

One of my favorite old-time love poems. I have to write about it for my British Literature final today and I thought I might share it with all of you now.


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