To His Mistress Going to Bed

John Donne

 
Come, madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th'eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th'hills shadow steals.
Off with your wiry coronet and show
The hairy diadem which on you doth grow:
Now off with those shoes: and then safely tread
In this love's hallowed temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes heaven's angels used to be
Received by men; thou, Angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven like Mahomet's Paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these Angels from an evil sprite:
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be,
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are as Atlanta's balls, cast in men's views,
That when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them:
Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings made
For lay-men, are all women thus arrayed.
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)
Must see revealed. Then, since that I may know,
As liberally as to a midwife, show
Thyself: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
There is no penance due to innocence:
To teach thee, I am naked first; why than,
What need'st thou have more covering than a man?
 

Poems by This Author

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
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 Sir Henry Wotton by John Donne
Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls


Further Reading

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