I can love both fair and brown;
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays;
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays;
Her whom the country form'd, and whom the town;
Her who believes, and her who tries;
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries. st nd
I can love her, and her, and you, and you; (no longer in the 1 person now he is talking in the 2 person)
I can love any, so she be not true.
Will no other vice content you? (speaking to the women)
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others?
Or doth a fear that men are true torment you?
O we are not, be not you so;
Let me—and do you—twenty know;
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fix'd subject, because you are true?
Venus heard me sigh this song; (Change in person)
And by love's sweetest part, variety, she swore,
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and return'd ere long,
And said, "Alas! some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, 'Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you.' Basically, he starts in the 3 person, then moves into the 2 person, as if talking to his coterie,
which is his audience
In the first stanza he says that he can love all of these kinds of women, and that he is a really
Then, the addressee becomes the women themselves – he shifts to talking to the woman
In the last stanza, he says that Venus has told these women who have been constant in love that if
you are going to be true, then you are going to be true to men who are not true to you
In the second stanza, he continues to speak to women, to one that he has singled out
In the 3 stanza, it envelopes and frames the first two, and it changes register and now you are
speaking to a larger audience and in the 3 stanza he is speaking in a completely different voice
This kind of joking/smiling in an Ovidian or libertine trope where it is better to be false in love than
to be true in love
He says that you and I will know twenty people - that kind of spirit of brindled erotic fervor
It does not stop here with us, we are going to make sex with more people
Crudely: erotic realism or Ovidian way of thinking of things, a libertine kind of trope
I am going to be honest: you are not going to be the last, I am going to play it straight with you, you
are not going to be the last love of my life, and because I am honest with you, you should have sex
This is a tricky argument, but it is one that delighted the people at that time
MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two;
And this, alas! is more than we would do.
O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this 1
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be, 2
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence? Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
'Tis true; then learn how false fears be;
Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.
The flea and the apparition are related to moments of seduction, where Donne is trying to
1onvince the woman to be with his.
This is the argument that he is making, well, a rather silly argument: you should make love
to me because our blood has mingled in this flea. A rather silly and non-serious argument
2Don’t kill the flea because it would be killing us.
He is creating an argument that is very playful in its intention
When by thy scorn, O murd'ress, I am dead, (hyperbole)
And that thou thinkst thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feign'd vestal, in worse arms shall see:
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tired before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call'st for more,
And, in false sleep, will from thee shrink:
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bathed in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie,
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I'd rather thou shouldst painfully repent, 1
Than by my threatenings rest still innocent