Elegy II Comparative text

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Elegy II Comparative text
by John Donne

1633

Marry, and love thy Flavia, for, ſhee
Hath all things, whereby others beautious bee,
For, though her eyes be ſmall, her mouth is great,
Though they be Ivory, yet her teeth be jeat,
Though they be dimme, yet ſhe is light enough,
And though her harſh haire fall, her skinne is rough;
What though her cheeks be yellow, her haire's red,
Give her thine, and ſhe hath a maydenhead.
Theſe things are beauties elements, where theſe
Meet in one, that one muſt, as perfect, pleaſe.
If red and white and each good quality
Be in thy wench, ne'r aske where it doth lye.
In buying things perfum'd, we aske; if there
Be muske and amber in it, but not where.
Though all her parts be not in th'uſuall place,
She'hath yet an Anagram of a good face.
If we might put the letters but one way,
In the leane dearth of words, what could wee ſay?
When by the Gamut ſome Muſitions make
A perfect ſong, others will undertake,
By the ſame Gamut chang'd, to equall it.
Things ſimply good, can never be unfit;
She's faire as any, if all be like her,
And if none bee, then ſhe is ſingular.
All love is wonder; if wee juſtly doe
Account her wonderfull, why not lovely too?
Love built on beauty, ſoone as beauty, dies,
Chuſe this face, chang'd by no deformities;
Women are like Angels; the faire be
Like thoſe which fell to worſe; but ſuch as ſhee,
Like to good Angels, nothing can impaire:
'Tis leſſe griefe to be foule, then to'have beene faire.
For one nights revels, ſilke and gold we chuſe,
But, in long journeyes, cloth, and leather uſe.
Beauty is barren oft; beſt huſbands ſay
There is beſt land, where there is fouleſt way.
Oh what a ſoveraigne Plaiſter will ſhee bee
If thy paſt ſinnes have taught thee jealouſie!
Here needs no ſpies, nor eunuches; her commit
Safe to thy foes; yea, to a Marmoſit.
When Belgiaes citties, the round countries drowne,
That durty fouleneſſe guards, and armes the towne:
So doth her face guard her; and ſo, for thee,
Which, forc'd by buſineſſe, abſent oft muſt bee,
Shee, whoſe face, like clouds, turnes the day to night,
Who, mightier thē the ſea, makes Moores ſeem white,
Who, though ſeaven yeares, ſhe in the Stews had laid,
A Nunnery durſt receive, and thinke a maid,
And though in childbeds labour ſhe did lie,
Midwifes would ſweare, 'twere but a tympanie,
Whom, if ſhee accuſe her ſelfe, I credit leſſe
Then witches, which impoſſibles confeſſe.
One like none, and lik'd of none, fitteſt were,
For, things in faſhion every man will weare.

1896
The Anagram

Marry, and love thy Flavia, for she
Hath all things, whereby others beauteous be;
For, though her eyes be small, her mouth is great;
Though they be ivory, yet her teeth be jet;
Though they be dim, yet she is light enough;
And though her harsh hair fall, her skin is tough;
What though her cheeks be yellow, her hair's red,
Give her thine, and she hath a maidenhead.
These things are beauty's elements, where these
Meet in one, that one must, as perfect, please.
If red and white, and each good quality
Be in thy wench, ne'er ask where it does lie.
In buying things perfumed, we ask, if there
Be musk and amber in it, but not where.
Though all her parts be not in th' usual place,
She hath yet an anagram of a good face.
If we might put the letters but one way,
In that lean dearth of words, what can we say?
When by the gamut some musicians make
A perfect song, others will undertake,
By the same gamut changed, to equal it.
Things simply good can never be unfit;
She's fair as any, if all be like her;
And if none be, then she is singular.
All love is wonder; if we justly do
Account her wonderful, why not lovely too?
Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies;
Choose this face, changed by no deformities.
Women are like angels; the fair be
Like those which fell to worse; but such as she,
Like to good angels, nothing can impair:
'Tis less grief to be foul, than to have been fair.
For one night's revels, silk and gold we choose,
But, in long journeys, cloth, and leather use.
Beauty is barren oft; best husbands say
There is best land, where there is foulest way.
Oh, what a sovereign plaster she will be,
If thy past sins have taught thee jealousy!
Here needs no spies, nor eunuchs; her commit
Safe to thy foes, yea, to a marmoset.
Like Belgia's cities the round country drowns,
That dirty foulness guards and arms the towns,
So doth her face guard her; and so, for thee,
Which forced by business, absent oft must be,
She, whose face, like clouds, turns the day to night;
Who, mightier than the sea, makes Moors seem white;
Who, though seven years she in the stews had laid,
A nunnery durst receive, and think a maid;
And though in childbed's labour she did lie,
Midwives would swear, 'twere but a tympany;
Whom, if she accuses herself, I credit less
Than witches, which impossibles confess;
One like none, and liked of none, fittest were;
For things in fashion every man will wear.