John Donne....A Fever
O! Do not die, for I shall hate
All women so, when thou art gone,
That thee I shall not celebrate,
When I remember thou wast one.
But yet thou canst not die, I know;
To leave this world behind, is death;
But when thou from this world wilt go,
The whole world vapours with thy breath.
Or if, when thou, the world’s soul, go’st,
It stay, ’tis but thy carcase then;
The fairest woman, but thy ghost,
But corrupt worms, the worthiest men.
O wrangling schools, that search what fire
Shall burn this world, had none the wit
Unto this knowledge to aspire,
That this her fever might be it?
And yet she cannot waste by this,
Nor long bear this torturing wrong,
For more corruption needful is,
To fuel such a fever long.
These burning fits but meteors be,
Whose matter in thee is soon spent;
Thy beauty, and all parts, which are thee,
Are unchangeable firmament.
Yet ’twas of my mind, seizing thee,
Though it in thee cannot perséver;
For I had rather owner be
Of thee one hour, than all else ever.
Verse 1: Do not die, since I will so hate all women, when you are gone, that I will not even celebrate your memory, for I will remember you were a woman too.
Verse 2: And yet I know you cannot die; since to die is to leave this world behind, but when you leave this world, the whole world will vaporise with your dying breath.
Verse 3: Or if the world is left behind when you, its soul, depart, it will be merely your dead carcase, and the most beautiful woman will be merely the ghost of you, and the worthiest men will be merely corrupt worms. (Note the sexual innuendo in ‘worms’).
Verse 4: Oh academic theologians who argue over what kind of fire will burn the world (See the Bible, 2 Peter 3:7) have none of you the intelligence to aspire to the knowledge that her fever might be that very fire?
Verse 5: And yet she cannot waste away through this fever, or bear this tormenting wrong for long, since she would have to contain a deal of corruption (which she does not) to fuel such a fever for any length of time.
Verse 6: These burning bouts of fever are only transient meteors, whose matter is soon consumed in you. Your beauty and everything which is part of you are unchangeable celestial material.
Verse 7: Yet the fever agreed with me in seizing upon you, although it cannot last long, since I too would rather possess you for an hour than all else forever
[Edited by deeppurple, 5/10/2012 12:11:47 PM]