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The Indifferent by John Donne


"The Indifferent" is a poem written by John Donne. This poem is basically an examination of Donne. He states that he can love all women, no matter their faults and features. Venus returned to him and stated that there are some women which he can love. He states that people who want "constancy" are silly and he prefers to have many women.

This poem consists of only two stanzas, but have an interesting line structure. The first stanza is made up of eighteen lines while the second stanza has only half that amount. However, being true to himself, he still bothers to rhyme the large stanza with ABBACCCDDDEEDFFFDD. The second stanza is rhymed ABBACCCDD.


The Indifferent

I can love both fair and brown;
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays;
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays;
Her whom the country form'd, and whom the town;
Her who believes, and her who tries;
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries.
I can love her, and her, and you, and you;
I can love any, so she be not true.
Will no other vice content you?
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
Or have you all old vices spent, and now would find out others?
Or doth a fear that men are true torment you?
O we are not, be not you so;
Let me—and do you—twenty know;
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fix'd subject, because you are true?

Venus heard me sigh this song;
And by love's sweetest part, variety, she swore,
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and return'd ere long,
And said, "Alas ! some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, 'Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you.'"

Next: Love's Deity
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