Air and Angels
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 worshipped be; Still when, to where thou wert, I came, Some lovely glorious nothing I did 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, Every thy hair for love to work upon Is much too much, some fitter must be sought; For, nor in nothing, nor in things Extreme, and scatt'ring 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 and angels' purity, 'Twixt women's love, and men's will ever be.
This poem is in the public domain.
The poet John Donne is known as the founder of the Metaphysical Poets, which included George Herbert and Andrew Marvell, among others.
Date Published: 1633-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/air-and-angels