For every hour that thou wilt spare me now,
I will allow,
Usurious God of Love, twenty to thee,
When with my brown, my grey hairs equal be;
Till then, Love let my body reign, and let
Me travel, sojourn, snatch, plot, have, forget,
Resume my last year’s relict: think that yet
We had never met.
Let me think any rival’s letter mine,
And at next nine
Keep midnight’s promise; mistake by the way
The maid, and tell the Lady of that delay;
Only let me love none, no, not the sport;
From country grass, to comfitures of Court,
Or city’s quelque-choses, let report
My mind transport.
This bargain’s good; if when I am old, I be
Inflamed by thee,
If thine own honour, or my shame, or pain,
Thou covet, most at that age thou shalt gain.
Do thy will then, then subject and degree,
And fruit of love, Love, I submit to thee,
Spare me till then, I’ll bear it, though she be
One that love me.
Selection take from: John Donne: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, edited by John Carey; Oxford: OUP, 1990