Elegie I

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Elegie I
by John Donne
This transcription from the 1633 printing of Poems duplicates the use of the long s as in the original. A modernized edition is available at Elegy I (1896).


Fond woman, which would'ſt have thy huſband die,
And yet complain'ſt of his great jealouſie;
If ſwolne with poyſon, hee lay in his laſt bed,
His body with a ſere-barke covered,
Drawing his breath, as quick and ſhort, as can
The nimbleſt crocheting Muſitian,
Ready with loathſome vomiting to ſpue
His Soule out of one hell, into a new,
Made deafe with his poore kindreds howling cries,
Begging with few feign'd teares great legacies,
Thou would'ſt not weep, but jolly, 'and frolicke bee,
As a ſlave, which to morrow ſhould be free.
Yet weep'ſt thou, when thou ſeeſt him hungerly
Swallow his owne death, hearts-bane jealouſie?
O give him many thanks, he is courteous,
That in ſuſpecting kindly warneth us.
Wee muſt not, as we us'd, flout openly,
In ſcoffing ridles, his deformitie;
Nor at his boord together being fatt,
With words, nor touch, ſcarce lookes, adulterate.
Nor when he ſwolne, and pamper'd with great fare,
Sits downe and ſnorts, cag'd in his basket chaire,
Muſt wee uſurpe his owne bed any more,
Nor kiſſe and play in his houſe, as before.
Now I ſee many dangers; for it is
His realme, his caſtle, and his dioceſſe.
But if, as envious men, which would revile
Their Prince, or coyne his gold, themſelves exile
Into another countrie, 'and doe it there,
Wee play 'in another houſe, what ſhould we feare?
There we will scorn his houſhold policies,
His ſeely plots, and penſionary ſpies,
As the inhabitants of Thames right ſide
Do Londons Major, or Germans the Pope's pride.