I fix mine eye on thine, and there
Pity my picture burning in thine eye,
My picture drowned in a transparent tear,
When I look lower I espy;
Hadst thou the wicked skill
By pictures made and marred, to kill,
How many ways mightst thou perform thy will?
But now I have drunk thy sweet salt tears,
And though thou pour more I'll depart;
My picture vanished, vanish fears,
That I can be endamaged by that art;
Though thou retain of me
One picture more, yet that will be,
Being in thine own heart, from all malice free.
I love how Donne seems always to be in perfect control of the force of his words.
The first stanza is like a hammer. The unrelenting rhythms drive home the meaning, reinforced by intense internal word play. It's compellingly creepy, and reminds me a bit of Poe.
But then those last lines completely fall flat. The rhythm is off, the rhymes are trite, the grammar is strained, ambiguous, and redundant.
I don't believe him, and I don't think he does either.
But of course that's the whole point.
Maybe its true, maybe it isn't... who cares? He's gone.
A Sonnet for Ascension Day
1 day ago