John Donne

24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England

Ode

I. VENGEANCE will sit above our faults ; but till
She there do sit,
We see her not, nor them. Thus blind, yet still
We lead her way ; and thus, whilst we do ill,
We suffer it.

2. Unhappy he whom youth makes not beware
Of doing ill.
Enough we labour under age, and care ;
In number, th' errors of the last place are
The greatest still.

3. Yet we, that should the ill we now begin
As soon repent,
Strange thing ! perceive not ; our faults are not seen,
But past us ; neither felt, but only in
The punishment.

4. But we know ourselves least ; mere outward shows
Our minds so store,
That our souls no more than our eyes disclose
But form and colour. Only he who knows
Himself, knows more.
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