A Valediction of My Name, in the Window

By John Donne

    My name engraved herein
Doth contribute my firmness to this glass,
  Which ever since that charm hath been
  As hard, as that which graved it was;
Thine eye will give it price enough, to mock
    The diamonds of either rock.

    ’Tis much that glass should be
As all-confessing, and through-shine as I;
  ’Tis more that it shows thee to thee,
  And clear reflects thee to thine eye.
But all such rules love’s magic can undo;
    Here you see me, and I am you.

    As no one point, nor dash,
Which are but accessories to this name,
  The showers and tempests can outwash
  So shall all times find me the same;
You this entireness better may fulfill,
    Who have the pattern with you still.

    Or if too hard and deep
This learning be, for a scratch’d name to teach,
  It as a given death’s head keep,
  Lovers’ mortality to preach;
Or think this ragged bony name to be
    My ruinous anatomy.

    Then, as all my souls be
Emparadised in you—in whom alone
  I understand, and grow, and see—
  The rafters of my body, bone,
Being still with you, the muscle, sinew, and vein
    Which tile this house, will come again.

    Till my return repair
And recompact my scatter’d body so,
  As all the virtuous powers which are
  Fix’d in the stars are said to flow
Into such characters as gravèd be
    When these stars have supremacy.

    So since this name was cut,
When love and grief their exaltation had,
  No door ’gainst this name’s influence shut.
  As much more loving, as more sad,
’Twill make thee; and thou shouldst, till I return,
    Since I die daily, daily mourn.

    When thy inconsiderate hand
Flings ope this casement, with my trembling name,
  To look on one, whose wit or land
  New battery to thy heart may frame,
Then think this name alive, and that thou thus
    In it offend’st my Genius.

    And when thy melted maid,
Corrupted by thy lover’s gold and page,
  His letter at thy pillow hath laid,
  Disputed it, and tamed thy rage,
And thou begin’st to thaw towards him, for this,
    May my name step in, and hide his.

    And if this treason go
To an overt act and that thou write again,
  In superscribing, this name flow
  Into thy fancy from the pane;
So, in forgetting thou rememb’rest right,
    And unaware to me shalt write.

    But glass and lines must be
No means our firm substantial love to keep;
  Near death inflicts this lethargy,
  And this I murmur in my sleep;
Impute this idle talk, to that I go,
    For dying men talk often so.


This poem is in the public domain.