by John Donne (1572 - 1631)

Language: English 
No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace 
As I have seen in one autumnal face.

Young beauties force our love, and that's a rape, 
This doth but counsel, yet you cannot scape.
If 'twere a shame to love, here 'twere no shame; 
Affection here takes reverence's name.

Were her first years the golden age? 
That's true, But now she's gold oft tried and ever new.
That was her torrid and inflaming time,
This is her tolerable tropic clime.

This is Love’s timber, youth his underwood;
There he, as wine in June, enrages blood,
Which then comes seasonanbliest when our taste 
And appetite to other things is past.

Here where still evening is, not noon nor night, 
Where no voluptuousness, yet all delight.
In all her words, unto all hearers fit,
You may at revels, you at council, sit.

If we love things long sought, age is a thing 
Which we are fifty years in compassing;
If transitory things, which soon decay,
Age must be loveliest at the latest day.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2020-10-10
Line count: 22
Word count: 170