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The Apparition by John Donne


This poem is somewhat haunting, yet it is something we have all probably thought of before. Frankly, it isn't too original; however, Donne has such beautiful language that he turns a common thought into art.

Donne speaks of how after he is dead, he will come back and haunt the person who hurt him in life.

This poem is made up of one stanza with seventeen lines. It has the rhyme scheme ABBABCDCDCEFFEGGG. At first glance, one might think this is a sonnet. However, it is not. It isn't written in purely pentameter (some of it is, but some isn't), and the rhyming structure is different.


The Apparition

When by thy scorn, O murd'ress, I am dead,
And that thou think'st thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feigned vestal, in worse arms shall see;
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tired before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call'st for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink,
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bathed in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I'd rather thou shouldst painfully repent
Than by my threat'nings rest still innocent.

Next: The Bait
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