Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  198. The Ecstasy

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

John Donne. 1573–1631

198. The Ecstasy

WHERE, like a pillow on a bed, 
  A pregnant bank swell’d up, to rest 
The violet’s reclining head, 
  Sat we two, one another’s best. 
Our hands were firmly cèmented         5
  By a fast balm which thence did spring; 
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread 
  Our eyes upon one double string. 
So to engraft our hands, as yet 
  Was all the means to make us one;  10
And pictures in our eyes to get 
  Was all our propagation. 
As ‘twixt two equal armies Fate 
  Suspends uncertain victory, 
Our souls—which to advance their state  15
  Were gone out—hung ‘twixt her and me. 
And whilst our souls negotiate there, 
  We like sepulchral statues lay; 
All day the same our postures were, 
  And we said nothing, all the day.  20