The Funeral

By JOHN DONNE (1572-1631)



Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm

Nor question much

That subtle wreath of hair which crowns my arm;

The mystery, the sign you must not touch,

For 'tis my outward soul,

Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,

Will leave this to control,

And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.


For if the sinewy thread4 my brain lets fall

Through every part

Can tie those parts and make me one of all;

These hairs, which upward grew, and strength and art

Have from a better brain,

Can better do' it; 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 'it, bury it with me,

For since I am Love's martyr,

it might breed idolatry,

If into other's hands these relics came;

As 'twas humility

To'afford to it all that a soul can do,

So 'tis some bravery,

That since you would save none of me, I bury some of you.