Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets
- Editor’s Note1No Lover saith, I love, nor any other
- 2 Can judge a perfect Lover;
- Critical Apparatus3Hee thinkes that else none can nor will agree,
- 4 That any loves but hee:
- 5I cannot say I lov'd, for who can say
- Critical Apparatus6 Hee was kill'd yesterday?
- 7Love with excesse of heat, more yong then old,
- Critical Apparatus8 Death kills with too much cold;
- 9Wee dye but once, and who lov'd last did die,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus10 Hee that saith twice, doth lye:
- pg 3911For though hee seeme to move, and stirre a while,
- 12 It doth the sense beguile.
- 13Such life is like the light which bideth yet
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus14 When the lights life is set,
- Critical Apparatus15Or like the heat, which fire in solid matter
- Critical Apparatus16 Leaves behinde, two houres after.
- Critical Apparatus17Once I lov'd and dyed; and am now become
- 18 Mine Epitaph and Tombe.
- 19Here dead men speake their last, and so do I;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus20 Love-slaine, loe, here I lye.
The Paradox. In L 74, TC O'F, S 96,S: omit Σ. Title from 1635.
ll. 1–6. No true lover talks about his love and no outsider can judge it, for every lover thinks that nobody else can love as he does. Since love kills, nobody can say he did love. The dead do not speak.
3 nor MSS.: or 1633
6 yesterday?] yesterday. 1633
8 cold;] cold 1633 uncorrected
10 twice,] twice 1633 uncorrected
l. 10. he that saith twice: he that says we die twice. The syntax of this poem is notably compressed.
14. lights life L 74, S: lifes light 1633, TC, O'F, S 96
l. 14. the lights life: the sun, the source of light.
15 which] which, 1663
16 behinde,] behinde 1633 uncorrected
17 lov'd MSS.: love 1633
20 Love-slaine] Love slaine 1633 uncorrected
lye O'F, S 96: dye 1633, L 74, TC, S
l. 20. I lye. The point of the jest, that he is merely an epitaph and tomb and the possible pun (that he is still not telling the truth) is lost if we read 'dye' (1633, L 74, TC, S).