Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus1 All Kings, and all their favorites,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus2 All glory'of honors, beauties, wits,
- 3 The Sun it selfe, which makes times, as they passe,
- 4 Is elder by a yeare, now, then it was
- 5 When thou and I first one another saw:
- 6 All other things, to their destruction draw,
- 7 Only our love hath no decay;
- 8 This, no to tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,
- 9 Running it never runs from us away,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus10But truly keepes his first, last, everlasting day.
- Editor’s Note11 Two graves must hide thine and my coarse,
- Critical Apparatus12 If one might, death were no divorce.
- 13 Alas, as well as other Princes, wee,
- 14 (Who Prince enough in one another bee,)
- 15 Must leave at last in death, these eyes, and eares,
- Critical Apparatus16 Oft fed with true oathes, and with sweet salt teares;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus17 But soules where nothing dwells but love
- Editor’s Note18 (All other thoughts being inmates) then shall prove
- 19 This, or a love increased there above,
- Editor’s Note20When bodies to their graves, soules from their graves remove.
- pg 72Editor’s Note21 And then wee shall be throughly blest,
- Critical Apparatus22 But wee no more, then all the rest.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus23 Here upon earth, we'are Kings, and none but wee
- Critical Apparatus24 Can be such Kings, nor of such subjects bee;
- 25 Who is so safe as wee? where none can doe
- 26 Treason to us, except one of us two.
- 27 True and false feares let us refraine,
- Critical Apparatus28 Let us love nobly,'and live, and adde againe
- 29 Yeares and yeares unto yeares, till we attaine
- Critical Apparatus30To write threescore: this is the second of our raigne.
The Anniversarie. L 74, A 25 omit. Title from 1633, TC.
1 favorites,] favorites 1633 uncorrected
1. 1. All Kings, &c. When read with 'The Sun Rising' and 'The Canonization' this poem seems likely to have been written, as they were, when James was on the throne. It breathes the same scorn for the Court from which Donne was an exile.
2 glory'of] glory of 1633
1. 2. honors. Although there is no example in O.E.D. of such a use without the personal pronoun, taken with 'beauties' and 'wits', 'honors' must mean persons of honour. Cf. 'The Canonization', 1. 6: 'Observe his honour.'
10 his 1633, TC: the Σ; see note
l. 10. his: its. The personal pronoun sounds more natural than the definite article here. As in 11. 23–24 1633 follows Group II. I retain 1633 because this poem is not found in L 74. As among the poems that Group II adds to those it shares with L 74 there are some unfinished poems, we may presume that the compiler of the larger collection had access to Donne's papers. Since in one of the 'Holy Sonnets' Group II alone preserves what is certainly a rewriting of a line, I regard texts in this section of the Group II manuscripts as likely to be final versions. See Textual Introduction, pp. lxviii–lxx.
II. 11–12. Two graves, &c. Their love is clandestine. They may not, as married lovers may, expect to be 'married in the dust'; see Introduction, p. xxix.
12 divorce.] divorce, 1633
16 oathes,] othes 1633 uncorrected
17 love] love; 1633
1. 17. dwells: resides permanently.
1. 18. inmates: temporary lodgers.
l. 20. The concept of the soul as buried in the body is unusual in Donne and is quickly repudiated in the next stanza.
- And then wee shall be throughly blest,
- But wee no more, then all the rest.
1633 stands alone in reading 'But now no more …'. This is a clear example of unintelligent correction of the manuscript reading by whoever prepared the copy for 1633. Reading only the first two lines of the stanza, thinking that an antithesis was required to 'then', and taking 'wee', no doubt, as erroneously caught from the line above, he substituted 'now' to the destruction of the sense. The point of the stanza as a whole is that the bliss they enjoy now on earth is preferable to the bliss they will enjoy in heaven since now they are better off than 'all the rest', then they will enjoy only a common felicity.
Grierson points out that the Scholastics did not hold that all. in heaven were equally blest, but that each was blest according to his capacity and so all were equally content; see Aquinas, S. T., Supp., q. xciii, art. v. The scholastic distinction was between 'gaudium' which was equal and 'beatitudo' which was not. The joy was equal because in heaven each rejoices in others' good as well as in his own. Donne's point is a true one: there is no place in heaven for the égoïsme à deux of this poem.
22 wee MSS.: now 1633 ; see note
rest,] rest 1633 uncorrected
23–24 and none but wee/ Can be such Kings 1633, TC: and but wee/ None are such Kings Σ
- Here upon earth, we'are Kings, and none but wee
- Can be such Kings,
I retain the reading of 1633 and Group II. All other manuscripts read
- Here upon earth we'are Kings, and but wee
- None are such Kings,
This gives a line with a missing medial syllable:
There are a good many parallel examples of this licence in Donne's poems; see note to 'The Perfume', l. 21 (p. 123). But it seems unlikely that a copyist would recast two lines to avoid metrical hiatus and this may more probably be an example of a minor alteration by Donne to give a smoother, if less forceful, line.
24 nor] and H 40, C 57, H 49, HK 2, Cy, JC, S
28 nobly,'and] nobly,and 1633
30 threescore:] threescore, 1633