John Donne




A Lecture upon the Shadow


Stand still, and I will read to thee

A lecture, Love, in love's philosophy.

    These three hours that we have spent

    Walking here, two shadows went

Along with us, which we ourselves produced;

But, now the sun is just above our head,

    We do those shadows tread

    And to brave clearness all things are reduced.

So, whilst our infant loves did grow,

Disguises did and shadows flow

From us and our care; but now, 'tis not so.


That love hath not attained the high'st degree

Which is still diligent lest others see.


Except our loves at this noon stay,

We shall new shadows make the other way.

    As the first were made to blind

    Others, these which come behind

Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.

If our loves faint and westwardly decline,

    To me thou falsely thine

    And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.

The morning shadows wear away,

But these grow longer all the day,

But, oh, love's day is short if love decay.


Love is a growing or full constant light

And his first minute after noon is night.