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Contents > Author > John Donne > The Funeral 1572- 1631
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John Donne
The Funeral
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Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm;
The mystery, the sign you must not touch,
For 'tis my outward soul,
Viceroy to that, which unto heav'n being gone,
Will leave this to control,
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.


For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
Through every part
Can tie those parts and make me one of all;
Those hairs, which upward grew, and strength and art
Have from a better brain,
Can better do 't; except she meant that I
By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled, when they're condemned to die.


Whate'er she meant by 't, bury it with me,
For since I am
Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry,
If into others' hands these relics came;
As 'twas humility
T' afford to it all that a soul can do,
So 'tis some bravery,
That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.
 

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