John Donne: A Valediction of My Name, in the Window

A Valediction of My Name, in the Window


            My name engraved herein Doth contribute my firmness to this glass,       Which ever since that charm hath been       As hard, as that which graved it was; Thine eye will give it price enough, to mock             The diamonds of either rock. 


            'Tis much that glass should be As all-confessing, and through-shine as I;       'Tis more that it shows thee to thee,       And clear reflects thee to thine eye. But all such rules love's magic can undo;             Here you see me, and I am you. 


            As no one point, nor dash, Which are but accessories to this name,       The showers and tempests can outwash       So shall all times find me the same; You this entireness better may fulfill,             Who have the pattern with you still. 


            Or if too hard and deep This learning be, for a scratch'd name to teach,       It as a given death's head keep,       Lovers' mortality to preach; Or think this ragged bony name to be             My ruinous anatomy. 


            Then, as all my souls be Emparadised in you—in whom alone       I understand, and grow, and see—       The rafters of my body, bone, Being still with you, the muscle, sinew, and vein             Which tile this house, will come again. 


            Till my return repair And recompact my scatter'd body so,       As all the virtuous powers which are       Fix'd in the stars are said to flow Into such characters as gravèd be             When these stars have supremacy. 


            So since this name was cut, When love and grief their exaltation had,       No door 'gainst this name's influence shut.       As much more loving, as more sad, 'Twill make thee; and thou shouldst, till I return,             Since I die daily, daily mourn. 


            When thy inconsiderate hand Flings open this casement, with my trembling name,       To look on one, whose wit or land       New battery to thy heart may frame, Then think this name alive, and that thou thus             In it offend'st my Genius. 


            And when thy melted maid, Corrupted by thy lover's gold and page,       His letter at thy pillow hath laid,       Disputed it, and tamed thy rage, And thou begin'st to thaw towards him, for this,             May my name step in, and hide his. 


            And if this treason go To an overt act and that thou write again,       In superscribing, this name flow       Into thy fancy from the pane; So, in forgetting thou rememb'rest right,             And unaware to me shalt write. 


            But glass and lines must be No means our firm substantial love to keep;       Near death inflicts this lethargy,       And this I murmur in my sleep; Inpute this idle talk, to that I go,             For dying men talk often so.