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About this Poem 

This version of “The Expiration” was published in Poems of John Donne, Volume 1 (Scribner’s Sons, 1896).

The Expiration

So, so, break off this last lamenting kiss,
    Which sucks two souls, and vapours both away;
Turn, thou ghost, that way, and let me turn this,
    And let ourselves benight our happiest day.
We ask none leave to love; nor will we owe
    Any so cheap a death as saying, “Go.”
Go; and if that word have not quite killed thee,
    Ease me with death, by bidding me go too.
Or, if it have, let my word work on me,
    And a just office on a murderer do.
Except it be too late, to kill me so,
    Being double dead, going, and bidding, “Go.”

The poem is in the public domain.

The poem is in the public domain.

John Donne

John Donne

The poet John Donne is known as the founder of the Metaphysical Poets, which included George Herbert and Andrew Marvell, among others.

by this poet

poem

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls,
For thus, friends absent speak. This ease controls
The tediousness of my life; but for these
I could ideate nothing which could please,
But I should wither in one day and pass
To a bottle of hay, that am a lock of grass.
Life is a voyage,

poem
Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because 'tis light?
Did we lie down, because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as
poem

Here take my picture; though I bid farewell
Thine, in my heart, where my soul dwells, shall dwell.
’Tis like me now, but I dead, ’twill be more
When we are shadows both, than 'twas before.
When weather-beaten I come back, my hand
Perhaps with rude oars torn, or sun beams tann’d,
My