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The Bait by John Donne


"The Bait" is a poem written by John Donne. The writing begins by telling his love to come be with him. He compares himself and his love with a fish. He tells his love to join with him in the river and not be caught by other hooks and nets. Then he goes on to state that love is the bait and fish who aren't caught by it are smarter than him.

This is a seven stanza poem with four lines in each. It is written in the rhyme scheme AABB. It is written in iambic-quadrameter.

"The Bait" is a great way to look at love. We constantly seek it out, but yet we are still hesitant once it is there. Instead of jumping into the water right away, we look around and see if there are any sharp things and if anyone else is watching us.


The Bait

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.

There will the river whisp'ring run
Warm'd by thy eyes, more than the sun;
And there th' enamour'd fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channel hath,
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seen, be'st loth,
By sun or moon, thou dark'nest both,
And if myself have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowy net.

Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;
Or curious traitors, sleeve-silk flies,
Bewitch poor fishes' wand'ring eyes.

For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish, that is not catch'd thereby,
Alas! is wiser far than I.

Next: Batter My Heart
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