Song: Go and catch a falling star

By John Donne 1572–1631 John Donne
Go and catch a falling star,
    Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
    Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
            And find
            What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
    Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
    Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
            And swear,
            No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
    Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
    Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
            Yet she
            Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.





Poetry Out Loud Note: In the print anthology, this poem is titled simply "Song." The student may give either title during the recitation. 




Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet John Donne 1572–1631

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Mythology & Folklore, Men & Women, Relationships, Gender & Sexuality, Social Commentaries, Love, Classic Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

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 early 20th 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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Men & Women, Relationships, Gender & Sexuality, Social Commentaries, Love, Classic Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.