A Lecture upon the Shadow

By John Donne 1572–1631 John Donne
Stand still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, love, in love's philosophy.
         These three hours that we have spent,
         Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produc'd.
But, now the sun is just above our head,
         We do those shadows tread,
         And to brave clearness all things are reduc'd.
So whilst our infant loves did grow,
Disguises did, and shadows, flow
From us, and our cares; but now 'tis not so.
That love has not attain'd the high'st degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
         As the first were made to blind
         Others, these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westwardly decline,
         To me thou, falsely, thine,
         And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
The morning shadows wear away,
But these grow longer all the day;
But oh, love's day is short, if love decay.
Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his first minute, after noon, is night.

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Poet John Donne 1572–1631

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Living, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza, Metaphor, Couplet

 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Living, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza, Metaphor, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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