The Canonization

By John Donne

For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love;
  Or chide my palsy, or my gout;
  My five grey 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 phœnix 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.”


This poem is in the public domain.