The Anniversary

By John Donne 1572–1631 John Donne
All Kings, and all their favourites,
         All glory of honours, beauties, wits,
    The sun itself, which makes times, as they pass,
    Is elder by a year now than it was
    When thou and I first one another saw:
    All other things to their destruction draw,
         Only our love hath no decay;
    This no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,
    Running it never runs from us away,
But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.

         Two graves must hide thine and my corse;
         If one might, death were no divorce.
    Alas, as well as other Princes, we
    (Who Prince enough in one another be)
    Must leave at last in death these eyes and ears,
    Oft fed with true oaths, and with sweet salt tears;
         But souls where nothing dwells but love
    (All other thoughts being inmates) then shall prove
    This, or a love increasèd there above,
When bodies to their graves, souls from their graves remove.

         And then we shall be throughly blessed;
         But we no more than all the rest.
    Here upon earth we’re Kings, and none but we
    Can be such Kings, nor of such subjects be;
    Who is so safe as we? where none can do
    Treason to us, except one of us two.
         True and false fears let us refrain,
    Let us love nobly, and live, and add again
    Years and years unto years, till we attain
To write threescore: this is the second of our reign.

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

Poet John Donne 1572–1631


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Romantic Love

 John  Donne


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 Love, Romantic Love


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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.