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        John Donne (1572-1631)

                        The Baite

    Come live with mee, and bee my love,
    And wee will some new pleasures prove
    Of golden sands, and christall brookes:
    With silken lines, and silver hookes.

    There will the river whispering runne
    Warm'd by thy eyes, more then the Sunne.
    And there the'inamor'd fish will stay,
    Begging themselves they may betray.

    When thou wilt swimme in that live bath,
    Each fish, which every channell hath,
    Will amorously to thee swimme,
    Gladder to catch thee, then thou him.

    If thou, to be so seene, beest loath,
    By Sunne, or Moone, thou darknest both,
    And if my selfe have leave to see,
    I need not their light, having thee.

    Let others freeze with angling reeds,
    And cut their legges, with shells and weeds,
    Or treacherously poore fish beset,
    With strangling snare, or windowie net:

    Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest
    The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
    Or curious traitors, sleavesilke flies
    Bewitch poore fishes wandring eyes.

    For thee, thou needst no such deceit,
    For thou thy selfe art thine owne bait;
    That fish, that is not chatch'd thereby,
    Alas, is wiser farre then I.


This poem was written as a variant of Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.

It can be found in:

  • Donne, John. The Complete Poetry of John Donne. John T. Shawcross, ed. New York: New York University Press, 1968.