Thursday, June 23, 2011


Evoke the Fire Within, Cold Flame 1987

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."

Donne’s speaker tells the listener (audience) to criticize him for any other reason other than love.  The speaker lists a multitude of possible faults or horrible acts which he may have or did not commit rhetorically all the while pronouncing his love.  Eventually he says, ""We can die by it, if not live by love…” meaning they can die by love if they cannot live by love.  Donne speaks of cannons, “And by these hymns, all shall approve / Us canonized for love…” indicating that their death would make them saints of love.  Canonization is a common practice for Renaissance and Baroque Arts so it makes sense that the once Catholic Donne would use canon in his poems as he was born in 1572.

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