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.

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THE FLEA peruseth with its quick and round black eye the Thoughts you have so gently convey’d; & will byte & sip, & thinke, & publish betimes your pert Missive.