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The Anagram

By John Donne

Marry, and love thy Flavia, for her
Hath all things, whereby others beauteous be;
For, thought her eyes be small, her mouth is great;
Though they be ivory, yet her teeth be jet;
Thought they be dim, yet she is light enough;
And though her harsh hair fall, her skin is tough;
What though her cheeks be yellow, her hair's red,
Give her thine, and she hath a maidenhead.
These things are beauty's elements; where these
Meet in one, that one must, as perfect, please.
If red and white, and each good quality
Be in thy wench, ne'er ask where it doth lie.
In buying things perfumed, we ask, if there
Be musk and amber in it, but not where.
Though all her parts be not in th' usual place,
She hath yet an anagram of a good face.
If we might put the letters but one way,
In that lean dearth of words, what could we say?
When by the gamut some musicians make
A perfect song, others will undertake,
By the same gamut changed, to equal it.
Things simply good can never be unfit;
She's fair as any, if all be like her;
And if none be, then she is singular.
All love is wonder; if we justly do
Account her wonderful, why not lovely too?
Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies;
Choose this face, changed by no deformities.
Women are all like angels; the fair be
Like those which feel to worse; but such as she,
Like to good angels, nothing can impair:
'Tis less grief to be foul, than to have been fair.
For one night's revels, silk and gold we chooose,
But in long journeys, cloth and leather use.
Beauty is barren oft; best husbands say,
There is best land, where there is foulest way.
Oh, what a sovereign plaster will she be,
If thy past sins have taught thee jealousy!
Here needs no spies, nor eunuchs; her commit
Safe to thy foes, yea, to a marmoset.
When Belgia's cities the round country drowns,
So doth her face guard her; and so for thee,
Which forced by business, absent oft must be,
She, whose face, like clouds, turns the day to night
Who, mightier than the sea, makes Moors seem white;
Who, though seven years she in the stews had laid,
A nunnery durst recieve, and think a maid;
And though in childbed's labour did she lie,
Midwives would swear 'twere byt a tympany;
Whom, if she accuse herself, I credit less
Thatn witches, which impossibles confess;
One like none, and liked of none, fittest were;
For things in fashion every man will wear.

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