Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets
- 1For every houre that thou wilt spare mee now,
- 2 I will allow,
- 3Usurious God of Love, twenty to thee,
- 4When with my browne, my gray haires equall bee;
- Critical Apparatus5Till then, Love, let my body raigne, and let
- Critical Apparatus6Mee travell, sojourne, snatch, plot, have, forget,
- Editor’s Note7Resume my last yeares relict: thinke that yet
- 8 We'had never met.
- Editor’s Note9Let mee thinke any rivalls letter mine,
- 10 And at next nine
- Editor’s Note11Keepe midnights promise; mistake by the way
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus12The maid, and tell the Lady'of that delay;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus13Onely let mee love none, no, not the sport;
- Editor’s Note14From country grasse, to comfitures of Court,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus15Or cities quelque choses, let report
- 16 My minde transport.
- 17This bargaine's good; if when I'am old, I bee
- 18 Inflam'd by thee,
- 19If thine owne honour, or my shame, or paine,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus20Thou covet, most at that age thou shalt gaine.
- 21Doe thy will then, then subject and degree,
- Critical Apparatus22And fruit of love, Love, I submit to thee,
- 23Spare mee till then, I'll beare it, though she bee
- 24 One that loves mee.
Loves Usury. TC, A 25, JC omit. Title from 1633
5 raigne] range Dob, O'F, S 96
6 snatch] match Dob, O'F
ll. 7–8. 'Take up with a woman abandoned last year as if we had never met before.'
ll.9–11. He wants to anticipate his rival's midnight assignation by turning up at nine. The rival's letter may be a letter from or to the rival.
at next nine: at the following nine o'clock, that is, as soon as possible after getting hold of the letter.
l. 11. mistake. There is an obvious equivoque here: he will 'take' the maid 'for' (and instead of) the mistress.
12 Lady'of] Lady of 1633
l. 12. tell the Lady. Ovid is less impudent. Cf. Amores, II. vii and viii, where he defends himself against Corinna's charge that he has slept with Cypassis her maid, and in the next poem cajoles and threatens the girl to obtain a continuance of her favours.
13 sport;] sport 1633
l. 13. no, not the sport. The plea is that he may be carefree in his pleasures, no more the slave of lust than of love.
Cf. 'Community', l. 22: 'Chang'd loves are but chang'd sorts of meat.' The country girl, the court lady, and the city madam are dismissed as raw pasture, preserved sweetmeats, and dressed-up trifles. 'Quelque choses', in its more usual form 'kickshaws' is first recorded in O.E.D. in 1598 (Florio) and I597(?) (2 Henry IV). The term is contemptuous, for fancy foreign dishes as opposed to substantial English ones, and is used here as a hit at the affectation of rich citizens' wives.
- From country grasse, to comfitures of Court,
- Or cities quelque choses,
15 let] let not Dob, O'F, S 96
l. 15. report: mere rumour (of a possible intrigue).
20 covet, most] covet most, 1633; see note
l. 20. Thou covet, most at that age thou shalt gaine. This is the punctuation of H 40, Group I, L 74, Lut, O'F, and B. (Dob, S 96, and S put a stop after 'age'.) The pointing of 1633 ('Thou covet most,…'), which Grierson retained, has no manuscript support. The sense required is that whether Love covets honour, shame, or pain he will gain most of what he covets from an old man.
22 fruit] fruits C 57, H 49, Dob, O'F, S 96, B
Love,] Love 1633