John Donne




A Lecture Upon the Shadow

Stand still, and I will read to thee
A Lecture, love, in Loves philosophy.
         These three houres that we have spent,
         Walking here, two shadowes went
Along with us, which we ourselves produc’d.
But, now the Sunne is just above our head,
         We doe those shadowes tread,
         And to brave clearnesse all things are reduc’d.
   So whilst our infant loves did grow,
   Disguises did, and shadowes, flow
   From us, and our cares; but now ’tis not so.

That love has not attain’d the high’st degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noone stay,
We shall new shadowes make the other way.
         As the first were made to blinde
         Others, these which come behinde
Will worke upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westwardly decline,
         To me thou, falsely, thine,
         And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
   The morning shadowes weare away,
   But these grow longer all the day;
   But oh, love’s day is short, if love decay.

Love is a growing, or full constant light;
And his first minute, after noone, is night.