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    John Donne - The Broken Heart


    by poetictouch

    Tom Deveson reads John Donne's The Broken Heart at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on 26 April 2012 during a special event celebrating Donne's life and work. The event was presented in association with Poet In The City and Winning Words.

    The Broken Heart
    by John Donne (1572-1631)

    He is stark mad, whoever says,
    That he hath been in love an hour,
    Yet not that love so soon decays,
    But that it can ten in less space devour;
    Who will believe me, if I swear
    That I have had the plague a year?
    Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
    I saw a flash of powder burn a day?

    Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
    If once into love's hands it come!
    All other griefs allow a part
    To other griefs, and ask themselves but some;
    They come to us, but us love draws;
    He swallows us and never chaws;
    By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die;
    He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.

    If 'twere not so, what did become
    Of my heart when I first saw thee?
    I brought a heart into the room,
    But from the room I carried none with me.
    If it had gone to thee, I know
    Mine would have taught thine heart to show
    More pity unto me; but Love, alas!
    At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

    Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
    Nor any place be empty quite;
    Therefore I think my breast hath all
    Those pieces still, though they be not unite;
    And now, as broken glasses show
    A hundred lesser faces, so
    My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
    But after one such love, can love no more.