Marke but this flea, and marke in this,
How little that which thou deny’st me is;
It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea, out two bloods mingled bee;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sinne, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoyes before it wooe,
And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two
And this, alas, is more than wee would doe.
Oh, stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where wee almost, yea more then maryed are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and mariage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of Jet.
Though use make you apt to kill mee,
Let not to that, selfe murder added bee,
And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.
Cruell and sodaine, hast thou since
Purpled thy naile, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty bee,
Except in that drop which is suckd from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and saist that thou
Find’st not thy selfe, nor mee the weaker now;
‘Tis true, then learne how false, fears bee;
Just so much honor, when thou yeeld’st to mee,
Will wast, as this flea’s death tooke life from thee.
John Donne left an incredibly rich heritage. It concerns both the quantity of his works and their quality, and “The Flea” is an excellent example of it. Here, one can clearly see why the intricate structure of Donne’s poems is often compared to lace. Continue reading “The Flea” by John Donne