A Lecture Upon the Shadow

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A Lecture Upon the Shadow
by John Donne

STAND still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, Love, in Love's philosophy.
 These three hours that we have spent,
 Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produc'd.
But, now the sun is just above our head,
 We do those shadows tread,
 And to brave clearness all things are reduc'd.
So whilst our infant loves did grow,
Disguises did, and shadows, flow
From us and our cares; but now 'tis not so.

That love hath not attain'd the highest degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
 As the first were made to blind
 Others, these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westerwardly decline,
 To me thou, falsely, thine
 And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
The morning shadows wear away,
But these grow longer all the day;
But O! love's day is short, if love decay.

Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his short minute, after noon, is night.

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.