The Paradox

By John Donne

No lover saith, I love, nor any other
      Can judge a perfect lover;
He thinks that else none can or will agree,
      That any loves but he;
I cannot say I loved, for who can say
      He was kill’d yesterday.
Love with excess of heat, more young than old,
      Death kills with too much cold;
We die but once, and who loved last did die,
      He that saith, twice, doth lie;
For though he seem to move, and stir a while,
      It doth the sense beguile.
Such life is like the light which bideth yet
      When the life’s light is set,
Or like the heat which fire in solid matter
      Leaves behind, two hours after.
Once I loved and died; and am now become
      Mine epitaph and tomb;
Here dead men speak their last, and so do I;
      Love-slain, lo! here I die.


This poem is in the public domain.