The Poetry Thread


You may enjoy John Donne, who was a poet and preacher in the 1600s. He's best know for his extended metaphors and some of his poems on love, although a touch naughty, are really really good.

The Decameron by Boccaccio is a prose piece I recommend. 100 stories and set during the Black Death. Fair warning, some are rather crude but the work influenced hundreds of years of literature.

These are my two of my favorites from John Donne. One of the most important things I learned in college is that if you want to impress an English major, break out Donne on her, not Shakespeare.

Woman's Constancy
Now thou has loved me one whole day,
Tomorrow when you leav’st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?
Or, that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
Or, as true deaths true marriages untie,
So lovers’ contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death’s image, them unloose?
Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic, against these ‘scapes I could
Dispute and conquer, if I would,
Which I abstain to do,
For by tomorrow, I may think so too.

Song: Go and catch a falling star
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
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 might 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.


I'm into the weeds now reading John Donne; he's hilarous. And definitely not a prude.

Stellar recommendation, @EndlessGravity!

Yes, one of the most entertaining things about reading him is that you see how little things have changed between men and women. If you want to go even further back on that theme, try the Roman poet Catullus. Very similar to Donne in a lot of way, and wrote over two millennia ago.