Negative Love

By John Donne

I never stoop’d so low, as they
Which on an eye, cheek, lip, can prey;
  Seldom to them which soar no higher
  Than virtue, or the mind to admire.
For sense and understanding may
  Know what gives fuel to their fire;
My love, though silly, is more brave;
For may I miss, whene’er I crave,
If I know yet what I would have.

If that be simply perfectest,
Which can by no way be express’d
  But negatives, my love is so.
  To all, which all love, I say no.
If any who deciphers best,
  What we know not—ourselves—can know,
Let him teach me that nothing. This
As yet my ease and comfort is,
Though I speed not, I cannot miss.


This poem is in the public domain.