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    Air and Angels

    by John Donne
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    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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