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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Song: ‘Go and catch a falling star’

John Donne (1572–1631)

GO and catch a falling star,

Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past hours are,

Or who cleft the Devil’s foot;

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Or to keep off envy’s stinging,

Or find

What wind

Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be’st born to strange sights,

Things invisible go see,

Ride ten thousand days and nights,

Till age snow white hairs on thee.

Thou at thy return wilt tell me

All strange wonders that befell thee,

And swear,


Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find’st one, let me know,

Such a pilgrimage were sweet;

Yet do not, I would not go,

Though at next door we should meet.

Though she were true when you met her,

And last till you write your letter,

Yet she

Will be

False, ere I come, to two or three.