Poet and satirist John Donne, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I, is a long-time personal favorite. I feel his work has an intensity that remains unmatched to this day. This piece sings to me.
The Broken Heart
He is stark mad, who ever 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 flask of powder burn a day?
|St. Luke, Portia. "Melancholia." |
Ink on paper with digital color.
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 to 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.
~ John Donne (1572 – 1631)