John Donne, 1572-1631
by John Donne, published 1633
Some man unworthy to be possessor
Of old or new love, himself being false or weak,
Thought his pain and shame would be lesser
If on womankind he might his anger wreak;
And thence a law did grow:
One might but one man know.
But are other creatures so?
Are sun, moon, or stars by law forbidden
To smile where they list, or lend away their light?
Are birds divorced or are they chidden
If they leave their mate, or lie abroad a night?
Beasts do no jointures lose
Though they new lovers choose,
But we are made worse than those.
Who e’er rigged fair ships to lie in harbours,
And not to seek lands, or not to deal withal?
Or built fair houses, set trees, and arbours,
Only to lock up, or else to let them fall?
Good is not good, unless
A thousand it possess,
But doth waste with greediness.
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