April’s Poem

The Good-Morrowby John Donne

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp North, without declining West?
Whatever dies was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

Donne’s classic poem catches the urgency and wonder of being in love. It reads as freshly today as when it was written over four centuries ago. John Donne (1572 – 1631) ended his life as dean of St Paul’s Cathedral but his Divine Poems have not stood the test of time as well as his early love poetry. Despite his secure place in the canon of English poetry now, Donne was unpublished as a poet during his lifetime. The above poem, like The Sun Rising and The Ecstasy, appeared under the general title of ‘Songs and Sonnets’ in 1635.

David Underdown