Love’s Diet

By John Donne

To what a cumbersome unwieldiness
And burdenous corpulence my love had grown,
  But that I did, to make it less,
  And keep it in proportion,
Give it a diet, made it feed upon
That which love worst endures, discretion.

Above one sigh a day I allow’d him not,
Of which my fortune, and my faults had part;
  And if sometimes by stealth he got
  A she sigh from my mistress’ heart,
And thought to feast on that, I let him see
’Twas neither very sound, nor meant to me.

If he wrung from me a tear, I brined it so
With scorn or shame, that him it nourish’d not;
  If he suck’d hers, I let him know
  ’Twas not a tear which he had got;
His drink was counterfeit, as was his meat;
For eyes, which roll towards all, weep not, but sweat.

Whatever he would dictate I writ that,
But burnt her letters when she writ to me;
  And if that favour made him fat,
  I said, “If any title be
Convey’d by this, ah! what doth it avail,
To be the fortieth name in an entail?”

Thus I reclaim’d my buzzard love, to flie
At what, and when, and how, and where I choose.
  Now negligent of sports I lie,
  And now, as other falconers use,
I spring a mistress, swear, write, sigh, and weep;
And the game kill’d, or lost, go talk or sleep.


This poem is in the public domain.