We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I long to talk with some old lover's ghost, Who died before the god of love was born. I cannot think that he, who then loved most, Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn. But since this god produced a destiny, And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be, I must love her that loves not me.
Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much, Nor he in his young godhead practised it. But when an even flame two hearts did touch, His office was indulgently to fit Actives to passives. Correspondency Only his subject was; it cannot be Love, till I love her, who loves me.
But every modern god will now extend His vast prerogative as far as Jove. To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend, All is the purlieu of the god of love. O! were we waken'd by this tyranny To ungod this child again, it could not be I should love her, who loves not me.
Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I, As though I felt the worst that love could do? Love might make me leave loving, or might try A deeper plague, to make her love me too; Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see. Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be, If she whom I love, should love me.
I'm greatly fond of John Donne, on whose writings and poems I spent a whole term in college. Many of his poems reflect his struggle between his passionate nature, and his religious beliefs. As you all know, he was raised with more learning than money, and he was a librarian at a nobleman's estate when he met and fell in love with the love of his life, and married her. When she died shortly thereafter, it transformed his poetic genius into a religious wrestling with the concepts and expressions of faith and he became dean of a cathedral.
Naturally, when I was young, I loved his love poems best. Of the shorter ones, The Good Morrow is a favorite of mine. A mind which can express such thoughts about love as this, is a mind I love.
"I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did 'til we loved? Were we not weaned 'til then? .....
If ever any beauty I did see
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee. ...
And now good morrow to our waking souls
Which watch not one another out of fear,
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere. "
It leaps across the centuries from his mind to ours, doesn't it?
Donne himself would have been surprised that he is now best known for what he no doubt saw as the ephemeral lyric poetry and "metaphysical" conceits of his youth. He confidently expected to achieve literary immortality for his now largely unread Sermons, which, indeed, are one of the highest pinnacles of English prose. There is now an online edition of this hard-to-find work (which in any case runs to more than a dozen volumes):
Yes, Epistemon, and the Sermons are where the immortal phrase "no man is an island, entire of itself" comes from. Glad to find another Donne enthusiast among the wonderful group of Maggies readers. Even in his poems, Donne's prose was not usually smooth and easy, as his mind wrestled with knotty concepts and thoughts. But he is infinitely worth the trouble to read, and when you get old, to remember.