John Donne

(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

The Broken Heart


He is stark mad, who ever says,
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour;
Who will believe me, if I swear
That I have had the plague a year ?
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say,
I saw a flask of powder burn a day ?

Ah, what trifle is a heart,
If once into Love’s hands it come!
All other griefs allow a part
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some,
They come to us, but us Love draws,
He swallows us, and never chaws:
By him, as by chain-shot, whole ranks do die,
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.

If`twere not so, what did become
Of my heart, when I first saw thee ?
I brought a heart into the room,
But from the room, I carried non with me;
If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thy heart to show
More pity unto me: but Love, alas,
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite,
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite;
And now as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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