View Full Version : The Best Love Poems of all Time

10-06-2006, 07:07 PM
I've always remembered this, by John Donne

Lovers' Infiniteness

IF yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all,
I cannot breath one other sigh, to move,
Nor can entreat one other tear to fall,
And all my treasure, which should purchase thee --
Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters -- I have spent.
Yet no more can be due to me,
Than at the bargain made was meant,
If then thy gift of love were partial,
That some to me, some should to others fall,
Dear, I shall never have Thee All.
Or if then thou gavest me all,
All was but All which thou hadst then;
But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall,
New love created be, by other men,
Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
In sighs, in oaths, and letters outbid me,
This new love may beget new fears,
For this love was not vowed by thee.
And yet it was, thy gift being general,
The ground; thy heart is mine: what ever shall
Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

Yet I would not have all yet:
He that hath all can have no more,
And since my love doth every day admit
New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store;
Thou canst not every day give me thy heart;
If thou canst give it, then thou never gavest it:
Love's riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
It stays at home, and thou with losing savest it:
But we will have a way more liberal
Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall
Be one, and one anothers's All.


11-19-2006, 08:40 PM
I agree. Donne's poem about the "riddles" of love is both sublime and moving. I don't know if it is The greatest love poem...some of Willie's sonnets are definitely worthy of attention but Love's Infinities is certainly worthy of great praise. It is actually quite a complex poem when the reader reads it several times slowly. I have not read much of Donne but from what I have heard many of his poems do present paradoxes and I look forward to more of his work. I remember talking to a friend of mine months ago and I was trying to explain why I love poetry even though it is not a straight forward one,two,three mode of communication. I said that life is not really a simple a,b,c phenonmenon...we all live in a universe that is complex and filled with ironies, riddles and mysteries. Because poetry mirrors this complexity I find it strangely reassuring. No I am not mad. Things do not always add up. 1+1 does not always equal 2 and poetry, more then any other art, reflects this often frustrating but always intriguing quality of our lives.