Thursday, April 16, 2009

THE FLEA approacheth

Mr Paul Stevens, under the apprehension that he hath indeed in Former Times besported and comported himself during a long & disreputable Past Life as a Fellowe and Boone-Companion of John Donne Esq., Ben Jonson, Sir John Suckling, Richard Lovelace and his partickular Frende and Crony Mr Andrew Marvell of Hull & Nun Appleton House, wishes to presage the imminent Publickation of an Exhibition or Congeries of Poemes, Squibs & Epigrammes he hath whimsically deuysed under the Favoure of the Sovereygne Muse in a Broadsheet to be called THE FLEA, after the excellent Conceite of his Frende Mr Donne; and will aduyse furthermore any new Newes as seems apposyte and timely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Flea

by John Donne

MARKE but this flea, and marke in this,
How little that which thou deny'st me is;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea, our two bloods mingled bee;
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sinne, nor shame, nor losse of maidenhead;
        Yet this enjoyes before it wooe,
         And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two,
         And this, alas, is more than wee would doe.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where wee almost, yea, more than maryed are,
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,
And cloisterd in these living walls of Jet.
         Though use make you apt to kill mee,
         Let not to that, selfe murder added bee,
         And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.

Cruell and sodaine, hast thou since
Purpled thy naile in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty bee,
Except in that drop which it suckt from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and saist that thou
Find'st not thy selfe nor mee the weaker now.
        'Tis true ; then learn how false, feares bee;
         Just so much honour, when thou yeeld'st to mee,
         Will wast, as this flea's death tooke life from thee.