26th – The Bee
Mark but this bee, and mark in this,
How little which thou pleases me;
It stung me first, now can’t sting thee,
And now this bee on floorboard mangled be.
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A praise, nor fame, nor gold queen’s head ;
Yet this you put before my door,
And now I swell because your flaws ;
And without this, alas ! It bores.
O stay, my life of misery spare,
Where you almost, ney, more than murdered me.
This bee is you and now I wheeze
From my chair where I sit and read.
Though I grudge, that we ever met,
And cloister’d in these living walls I’d bet.
Thou verb use, is apt to kill me,
Lets hope to that self-murder added be,
And save my time in killing thee.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
blushed the blood of poor language?
Wherefore comes this guilty bee,
Except in that letter sent from thee?
Yet thou fail’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st me not much weaker now.
‘Tis hoped ; thou learnst how false hopes be ;
Just so much pain, when thou writes to me,
Much time is wasted, stung by dead bees .
(with all affection to Mr Donne)