John Donne

Here you will find the Long Poem An Anatomy Of The World... of poet John Donne

An Anatomy Of The World...

When that rich soul which to her heaven is gone,
 Whom all do celebrate, who know they have one
 (For who is sure he hath a soul, unless
 It see, and judge, and follow worthiness,
 And by deeds praise it? He who doth not this,
 May lodge an inmate soul, but 'tis not his)
 When that queen ended here her progress time,
 And, as t'her standing house, to heaven did climb,
 Where loath to make the saints attend her long,
 She's now a part both of the choir, and song;
 This world, in that great earthquake languished;
 For in a common bath of tears it bled,
 Which drew the strongest vital spirits out;
 But succour'd then with a perplexed doubt,
 Whether the world did lose, or gain in this,
 (Because since now no other way there is,
 But goodness, to see her, whom all would see,
 All must endeavour to be good as she)
 This great consumption to a fever turn'd,
 And so the world had fits; it joy'd, it mourn'd;
 And, as men think, that agues physic are,
 And th' ague being spent, give over care,
 So thou, sick world, mistak'st thy self to be
 Well, when alas, thou'rt in a lethargy.
 Her death did wound and tame thee then, and then
 Thou might'st have better spar'd the sun, or man.
 That wound was deep, but 'tis more misery
 That thou hast lost thy sense and memory.
 'Twas heavy then to hear thy voice of moan,
 But this is worse, that thou art speechless grown.
 Thou hast forgot thy name thou hadst; thou wast
 Nothing but she, and her thou hast o'erpast.
 For, as a child kept from the font until
 A prince, expected long, come to fulfill
 The ceremonies, thou unnam'd had'st laid,
 Had not her coming, thee her palace made;
 Her name defin'd thee, gave thee form, and frame,
 And thou forget'st to celebrate thy name.
 Some months she hath been dead (but being dead,
 Measures of times are all determined)
 But long she'ath been away, long, long, yet none
 Offers to tell us who it is that's gone.
 But as in states doubtful of future heirs,
 When sickness without remedy impairs
 The present prince, they're loath it should be said,
 'The prince doth languish,' or 'The prince is dead;'
 So mankind feeling now a general thaw,
 A strong example gone, equal to law,
 The cement which did faithfully compact
 And glue all virtues, now resolv'd, and slack'd,
 Thought it some blasphemy to say sh'was dead,
 Or that our weakness was discovered
 In that confession; therefore spoke no more
 Than tongues, the soul being gone, the loss deplore.
 But though it be too late to succour thee,
 Sick world, yea dead, yea putrified, since she
 Thy' intrinsic balm, and thy preservative,
 Can never be renew'd, thou never live,
 I (since no man can make thee live) will try,
 What we may gain by thy anatomy.
 Her death hath taught us dearly that thou art
 Corrupt and mortal in thy purest part.
 Let no man say, the world itself being dead,
 'Tis labour lost to have discovered
 The world's infirmities, since there is none
 Alive to study this dissection;
 For there's a kind of world remaining still,
 Though she which did inanimate and fill
 The world, be gone, yet in this last long night,
 Her ghost doth walk; that is a glimmering light,
 A faint weak love of virtue, and of good,
 Reflects from her on them which understood
 Her worth; and though she have shut in all day,
 The twilight of her memory doth stay,
 Which, from the carcass of the old world free,
 Creates a new world, and new creatures be
 Produc'd. The matter and the stuff of this,
 Her virtue, and the form our practice is.
 And though to be thus elemented, arm
 These creatures from home-born intrinsic harm,
 (For all assum'd unto this dignity
 So many weedless paradises be,
 Which of themselves produce no venomous sin,
 Except some foreign serpent bring it in)
 Yet, because outward storms the strongest break,
 And strength itself by confidence grows weak,
 This new world may be safer, being told
 The dangers and diseases of the old;
 For with due temper men do then forgo,
 Or covet things, when they their true worth know.
 There is no health; physicians say that we
 At best enjoy but a neutrality.
 And can there be worse sickness than to know
 That we are never well, nor can be so?
 We are born ruinous: poor mothers cry
 That children come not right, nor orderly;
 Except they headlong come and fall upon
 An ominous precipitation.
 How witty's ruin! how importunate
 Upon mankind! It labour'd to frustrate
 Even God's purpose; and made woman, sent
 For man's relief, cause of his languishment.
 They were to good ends, and they are so still,
 But accessory, and principal in ill,
 For that first marriage was our funeral;
 One woman at one blow, then kill'd us all,
 And singly, one by one