John Donne




The Will

Before I sigh my last gaspe, let me breath, 
    Great Love, some Legacies; Here I bequeath 
    Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see, 
    If they be blinde, then Love, I give them thee;
    My tongue to Fame; to’Embassadours mine eares;
            To women, or the sea, my teares.
        Thou, Love, hast taught mee heretofore
    By making mee serve her who’had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such, as had too much before.

    My constancie I to the planets give;
    My truth to them, who at the Court doe live;
    Mine ingenuity and opennesse,
    To Jesuits; to Buffones my pensivenesse;
    My silence to’any, who abroad hath beene;
            My mony to a Capuchin:
        Thou Love taughtst me, by appointing mee
    To love there, where no love receiv’d can be,
Onely to give to such as have an incapacitie.

    My faith I give to Roman Catholicques;
    All my good works unto the Schismaticks
    Of Amsterdam; my best civility
    And Courtship to an Universitie;
    My modesty I give to souldiers bare;
            My patience let gamesters share.
        Thou Love taughtst mee, by making mee
    Love her that holds my love disparity,
Onely to give to those that count my gifts indignity.

    I give my reputation to those
    Which were my friends; mine industrie to foes;
    To Schoolemen I bequeath my doubtfulnesse;
    My sicknesse to Physitians, or excesse;
    To Nature, all that I in Ryme have writ; 
            And to my company my wit.
        Thou Love, by making mee adore
    Her, who begot this love in mee before,
Taughtst me to make, as though I gave, when I did but restore.

    To him for whom the passing-bell next tolls,
    I give my physick bookes; my written rowles
    Of Morall counsels, I to Bedlam give;
    My brazen medals, unto them which live
    In want of bread; To them which passe among
            All forrainers, mine English tongue.
        Thou, Love, by making mee love one
    Who thinkes her friendship a fit portion
For yonger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.

    Therefore I'll give no more; but I'll undoe
    The world by dying; because love dies too.
    Then all your beauties will be no more worth
    Than gold in Mines, where none doth draw it forth;
    And all your graces no more use shall have
            Than a Sun dyall in a grave.
        Thou Love taughtst me by making mee
    Love her, who doth neglect both mee and thee,
To’invent, and practise this one way, to’annihilate all three.