The Funeral

By John Donne 1572–1631 John Donne
Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
         Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair, which crowns my arm;
The mystery, the sign, you must not touch,
         For 'tis my outward soul,
Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,
         Will leave this to control
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.

For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
         Through every part
Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
Those hairs which upward grew, and strength and art
         Have from a better brain,
Can better do'it; except she meant that I
         By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die.

Whate'er she meant by'it, bury it with me,
         For since I am
Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry,
If into other hands these relics came;
         As 'twas humility
To afford to it all that a soul can do,
         So, 'tis some bravery,
That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.

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Poet John Donne 1572–1631

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Christianity, Death, Infatuation & Crushes, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 John  Donne

Biography

John Donne's standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, is now assured. However, it has been confirmed only in the present century. The history of Donne's reputation is the most remarkable of any major writer in English; no other body of great poetry has fallen so far from favor for so long and been generally condemned as inept and crude. In Donne's own day his poetry was highly prized . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Christianity, Death, Infatuation & Crushes, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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