Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ELEGY: 9. THE AUTUMNAL [BEAUTY], by JOHN DONNE



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ELEGY: 9. THE AUTUMNAL [BEAUTY], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace
Last Line: I shall ebbe out with them, who home-ward goe.
Variant Title(s): Love Elegies: Elegy 15. The Autumnal
Subject(s): Love


No Spring, nor Summer Beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one Autumnall face.
Yong Beauties force our love, and that's a Rape,
This doth but counsaile, yet you cannot scape.
If t'were a shame to love, here t'were no shame,
Affection here takes Reverences name.
Were her first yeares the Golden Age; That's true,
But now shee's gold oft tried, and ever new.
That was her torrid and inflaming time,
This is her tolerable Tropique clyme.
Faire eyes, who askes more heate then comes from hence,
He in a fever wishes pestilence.
Call not these wrinkles, graves; If graves they were,
They were Loves graves; for else he is no where.
Yet lies not Love dead here, but here doth sit
Vow'd to this trench, like an Anachorit.
And here, till hers, which must be his death, come,
He doth not digge a Grave, but build a Tombe,
Here dwells he, though he sojourne ev'ry where,
In Progresse, yet his standing house is here.
Here, where still Evening is; not noone, nor night;
Where no voluptuousnesse, yet all delight.
In all her words, unto all hearers fit,
You may at Revels, you at Counsaile, sit.
This is loves timber, youth his under-wood;
There he, as wine in June, enrages blood,
Which then comes seasonabliest, when our tast
And appetite to other things, is past.
Xerxes strange Lydian love, the Platane tree,
Was lov'd for age, none being so large as shee,
Or else because, being young, nature did blesse
Her youth with ages glory, Barrennesse.
If we love things long sought, Age is a thing
Which we are fifty yeares in compassing.
If transitory things, which soone decay,
Age must be lovelyest at the latest day.
But name not Winter-faces, whose skin's slacke;
Lanke, as an unthrifts purse; but a soules sacke;
Whose Eyes seeke light within, for all here's shade;
Whose mouthes are holes, ratherworne out, then made;
Whose every tooth to a severall place is gone,
To vexe their soules at Resurrection;
Name not these living Deaths-heads unto mee,
For these, not Ancient, but Antique be.
I hate extreames; yet I had rather stay
With Tombs, then Cradles, to weare out a day.
Since such loves naturall lation is, may still
My love descend, and journey downe the hill,
Not panting after growing beauties, so,
I shall ebbe out with them, who home-ward goe.





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