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

The Dream

John Donne (1572–1631)

DEAR love, for nothing less than thee

Would I have broke this happy dream;

It was a theme

For reason, much too strong for fantasy.

Therefore thou waked’st me wisely; yet

My dream thou brak’st not, but continued’st it:

Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice

To make dreams truths and fables histories.

Enter these arms, for since thou thought’st it best

Not to dream all my dream, let’s act the rest.

As lightning, or a taper’s light,

Thine eyes, and not thy noise, waked me;

Yet I thought thee—

For thou lov’st truth—an angel at first sight;

But when I saw thou saw’st my heart,

And knew’st my thoughts beyond an angel’s art,

When thou knew’st what I dreamt, when thou knew’st when

Excess of joy would wake me, and cam’st then,

I must confess it could not choose but be

Profane to think thee anything but thee.

Coming and staying show’d thee thee;

But rising makes me doubt that now

Thou art not thou.

That Love is weak where Fear’s as strong as he;

’Tis not all spirit pure and brave,

If mixture it of Fear, Shame, Honour have.

Perchance, as torches, which must ready be,

Men light and put out, so thou dealst with me.

Thou cam’st to kindle, goest to come: then I

Will dream that hope again, but else would die.