John Donne’s Mistress Replies

John Donne sure is hot to trot in his Elegy to his Mistress Going to Bed. What might she have to say about it?

COME, sir? Have I not heard this panting plea before?
And then been left to hunger while you snore?
Left, like an apple bitten, but only once or twice
It’s flesh left wet and withering; once enticed
You lose your pace quicker than a hasty horse
The rider takes her mount, you’ve run the course
I’ve seen your lightening flashing, and heard your thunder pound
Then drip such drops that barely mist the ground!
The dancer knows the wooden stage can bear her sport
Without withdraw, or slacking its support
As long as needed to exhaust her energies
The flame atop the wick burns ’til she’s pleased
The steadfast candle fuels her, far into the night
It gives whatever’s needed to shine her light
Unlike your firecracker’s short impatient fuse
That’s fizzle flash snap, then powder fumes!
The care that must be taken to step on broken boards
Makes dancing awkward
The candle, drained of wax, may blamelessly burn out
And not just leave the thirsty flame to pout
So hold the rain for me, though the storm clouds nearly burst
To cool the dying embers of my thirst
Unless you want the orchard gates forever shut
Wait for my spur, and meanwhile, hold your nut!

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