Herbert J. C. Grierson (ed.), The Poems of John Donne, Vol. 1: The Text of the Poems with Appendixes

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The Curſe.

  • 1WHo ever gueſſes, thinks, or dreames he knowes
  • Critical Apparatus2      Who is my miſtris, wither by this curſe;
  • Critical Apparatus3      His only, and only his purſe
  • Critical Apparatus4      May ſome dull heart to love diſpoſe,
  • Critical Apparatus5And ſhee yeeld then to all that are his foes;
  • 6  May he be ſcorn'd by one, whom all elſe ſcorne,
  • 7  Forſweare to others, what to her he'hath ſworne,
  • Critical Apparatus8  With feare of miſſing, ſhame of getting, torne:
  • pg 42Critical Apparatus9Madneſſe his ſorrow, gout his cramp, may hee
  • Critical Apparatus10Make, by but thinking, who hath made him ſuch:
  • 11      And may he feele no touch
  • Critical Apparatus12      Of conſcience, but of fame, and bee
  • 13Anguiſh'd, not that'twas ſinne, but that'twas ſhee:
  • Critical Apparatus14  In early and long ſcarceneſſe may he rot,
  • 15  For land which had been his, if he had not
  • 16  Himſelfe inceſtuouſly an heire begot:
  • 17May he dreame Treaſon, and beleeve, that hee
  • Critical Apparatus18Meant to performe it, and confeſſe, and die,
  • 19      And no record tell why:
  • 20      His ſonnes, which none of his may bee,
  • 21Inherite nothing but his infamie:
  • 22  Or may he ſo long Parasites have fed,
  • 23  That he would faine be theirs, whom he hath bred,
  • 24  And at the laſt be circumciſ'd for bread:
  • 25The venom of all ſtepdames, gamſters gall,
  • Critical Apparatus26What Tyrans, and their ſubjects interwiſh,
  • Critical Apparatus27      What Plants, Mynes, Beaſts, Foule, Fiſh,
  • Critical Apparatus28      Can contribute, all ill which all
  • 29Prophets, or Poets ſpake; And all which ſhall
  • 30  Be annex'd in ſchedules unto this by mee,
  • 31  Fall on that man; For if it be a ſhee
  • 32  Nature before hand hath out-curſed mee.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
The Curſe. 163369: A Curſe. orThe Curſe. A18, A25, B, C, D, H40, H49, JC, L74, Lec, N, O'F, S, TCC, TCD: Dirae. P, Q
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2 curſe] courſe 1669
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3 His only, and only his purſe 163354, A18, A25, B, C, D, H40, H49, JC, L74, Lec, N, O'F, S, TC: Him, only for his purſe 1669, Chambers: His one and his onely purſe P
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4 heart 163354 and MSS.: whore 1669 and Chambers
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5 And she yeeld then to 163354 and MSS.: And then yield unto 1669, Chambers
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8 getting, Ed: getting 163369
torne: Ed: torne; 163354: torne. 1669. Compare 16 and 24
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9 cramp,] cramps, 1669, Chambers, and most MSS.
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10 him 163354 and MSS.: them 1669, Chambers
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12 fame,] ſhame; A18, A25, N, P, TC
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14–16 In early and long ſcarceneſs … an heire begot: 1633, B, D, H40, H49, Lec, O'F (which gives alternate version in margin), S:
  • Or may he for her vertue reverence
  • One that hates him onely for impotence,
  • And equall Traitors be ſhe and his ſenſe.
163569, A18, A25, C, JC, N, P, Q, S, TC
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18 Meant] Went A18, N, TC
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26 Tyrans, 163335 : Tyrants, 1639 : tyrants, 165069
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27 Mynes, A18, A25, B, H40, JC, L74, N, O'F, P, Q, S, TC: Myne, 163369, D, H49, Lec
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28 ill 1669 : ill, 163354
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