A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

John Donne

 
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
   "The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"
So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.
Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
   Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
   Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers' love
   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
   Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
   That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
   Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
   Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
   As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
   Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
   And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
   Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
   And makes me end where I begun.
 

Poems by This Author

Air and Angels by John Donne
Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Ascension by John Donne
Salute the last, and everlasting day
At the round earth's imagined corners (Holy Sonnet 7) by John Donne
At the round earth's imagin'd corners
Batter my heart, three person'd God (Holy Sonnet 14) by John Donne
Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
Break of Day by John Donne
Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) by John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness by John Donne
Since I am coming to that Holy room
Lovers' Infiniteness by John Donne
If yet I have not all the love
The Anniversary by John Donne
All kings, and all their favourites
The Apparition by John Donne
When by thy scorn, O murd'ress, I am dead
The Baite by John Donne
Come live with mee, and bee my love,
The Good-Morrow by John Donne
I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
The Sun Rising by John Donne
Busy old fool, unruly Sun
To His Mistress Going to Bed by John Donne
Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy
To Sir Henry Wotton by John Donne
Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls


Further Reading

Poems About Farewells
Before the Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
Chicago
by Carl Sandburg
Farewell
by John Clare
Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou
by Wang Wei
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Kissing Stieglitz Good-Bye
by Gerald Stern
Late August on the Lido
by John Hollander
Losing Track
by Denise Levertov
Remember
by Christina Rossetti
Since Hannah Moved Away
by Judith Viorst
So Long
by Walt Whitman
Verses upon the Burning of our House
by Anne Bradstreet
When We Two Parted
by George Gordon Byron