A Feast of St. Brigid Tradition

The third annual (Silent) Blogger's Poetry Reading. Consider yourself invited.
Something rather silly this year for me. This is one of my favorite Donne poems that never fails to make me laugh – a "love" poem that offers a hilarious view of the efforts of a persistent suitor with more wit than favor, with terrific insights into 17th century hygiene to boot.

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
When we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, we are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder be added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thy self or me the weaker now;
'Tis true, then learn how false fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

John Donne 1633


Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Oh, I love this one! Hilarious. Who knew the sense of humor was invented that long ago?

6:32 AM  
Blogger jessie said...

Typical male, with the "It's no big deal, I'll still respect you in the morning" conclusion. :-)

3:04 AM  

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