To His Mistress Going To Bed

by John Donne

Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,

Until in labour, I in labour lie.

The foe oft-times having the foe in sight

Is tir’d with standing though he never fight.

Off with that girdle, like heaven’s Zone glistering,

But a far fairer world encompassing.

Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,

That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.

Unlace yourself, for that harmonious charm,

Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.

Off with that happy busk, which I envy,

That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.

Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,

As when from flowery meads th’hill’s shadow steals.

Off with that wiry Coronet and shew

The hairy diadem which on you grow;

Now off with those shoes, and then safely tread

In this love’s hallow’d temple, this soft bed.

In such white robes, heav’ns Angels used to be

Received by men; Thou Angel bringst with thee

A heaven like Mahomet’s paradise; and though

Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know,

By this these Angels from an evil sprite,

Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.

Licence my roving hands, and let them go,

Before, behind, between, above, below,

O my America! my new-found-land,

My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,

My Mine of precious stones, my Empirie,

How blest am I in this discovering thee!

To enter in these bonds, is to be free;

Then where my hand is set my seal shall be.

Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee.

As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth’d must be,

To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use

Are like Atlanta’s balls, cast in men’s views

That when a fool’s eye lighteth on a Gem,

His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them,

Like pictures, or like books’ gay coverings made

For lay-men, are all women thus array’d;

Themselves are mystic books, which only we

(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)

Must see reveal’d. Then since then that I may know;

As liberally, as to a Midwife, shew

Thyself: cast all, yea this white linen hence,

There is no penance due to innocence.

To teach thee, I am naked first; why then

What needst thou have more covering than a man.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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