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Air and Angels

by John Donne
Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
      Before I knew thy face or name;
      So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be.
      Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing did I see.
      But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
      More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too;
      And therefore what thou wert, and who,
            I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.
Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
      And so more steadily to have gone,
      With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;
      Thy every hair for love to work upon
Is much too much; some fitter must be sought;
      For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scattering bright, can love inhere;
      Then as an angel face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
      So thy love may be my love's sphere;
            Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air's and angels' purity,
'Twixt women's love, and men's, will ever be.

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