John Donne

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

To His Mistress Going To Bed - Poem by 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 they 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 'tis your 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' hill's shadow steals.
Off with that 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 blessed 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 like 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 laymen, are all women thus arrayed;
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
Whom their imputed grace will dignify
Must see revealed. Then since I may know,
As liberally, as to a midwife, show
Thyself: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
Here is no penance, much less innocence.
To teach thee, I am naked first, why then
What needst thou have more covering than a man.


Comments about To His Mistress Going To Bed by John Donne

  • Chinedu Dike (8/16/2015 3:15:00 AM)


    Piece of elegance, well articulated and insightfully penned with good rhyme scheme. A beautiful depiction of vain glorification of beauty, and the raging fire of lust. A nice poem indeed. Thanks for sharing. Please read my poem MANDELA - THE IMMORTAL ICON. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Marilyn Lott (9/5/2007 11:19:00 AM)


    Whew! Gettin' warm in here! Love this and love how long
    ago it was written. I LOVE Poem Hunter!
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/20/2007 1:51:00 AM)


    it was my boyfriend who told me first about this poem...profound imagery on sex and nudity, i must say. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »



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Read poems about / on: women, america, heaven, innocence, angel, evil, happy, woman



Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2001

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 9, 2015


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