Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  196. Song

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

John Donne. 1573–1631

196. Song

GO and catch a falling star, 
  Get with child a mandrake root, 
Tell me where all past years are, 
  Or who cleft the Devil’s foot; 
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,         5
Or to keep off envy’s stinging, 
        And find 
        What wind 
Serves to advance an honest mind. 
If thou be’st born to strange sights,  10
  Things invisible to see, 
Ride ten thousand days and nights 
  Till Age snow white hairs on thee; 
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me 
All strange wonders that befell thee,  15
        And swear 
        No where 
Lives a woman true and fair. 
If thou find’st one, let me know; 
  Such a pilgrimage were sweet.  20
Yet do not; I would not go, 
  Though at next door we might meet. 
Though she were true when you met her, 
And last till you write your letter, 
        Yet she  25
        Will be 
False, ere I come, to two or three.