“Air and Angels” by John Donne

Twice or thrice had I lov’d thee, 

Before I knew thy face or name; 

So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame 

Angels affect us oft, and worshipp’d be; 

         Still when, to where thou wert, I came, 

Some lovely glorious nothing I did see. 

         But since my soul, whose child love is, 

Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do, 

         More subtle than the parent is 

Love must not be, but take a body too; 

         And therefore what thou wert, and who, 

                I bid Love ask, and now 

That it assume thy body, I allow, 

And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow. 

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought, 

And so more steadily to have gone, 

With wares which would sink admiration, 

I saw I had love’s pinnace overfraught; 

         Ev’ry thy hair for love to work upon 

Is much too much, some fitter must be sought; 

         For, nor in nothing, nor in things 

Extreme, and scatt’ring bright, can love inhere; 

         Then, as an angel, face, and wings 

Of air, not pure as it, yet pure, doth wear, 

         So thy love may be my love’s sphere; 

                Just such disparity 

As is ‘twixt air and angels’ purity, 

‘Twixt women’s love, and men’s, will ever be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s