Go and catch a falling star

Go and catch a falling star

Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
what wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
 Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee
Thou, when return’st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee
And swear
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know,
such a pilgrimage were sweet;
yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
            Yet she
            Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
John Donne’s confidence in the infidelity of women is not surprising. Centuries of literature have reinforced the belief in fickle mindedness of women. Is it surprising that the writers were majorly men? Perhaps not.It is funny how the repetition of make-believes like the apparent disloyalty of women and the courage of men, the curse of the cats and the blessings of the dogs are pandered to mankind. In fact I have recently been very surprised by the stories of cats and the ill-omen they bring to the houses that I have been listening to. Here are some:
* No. 1: Women who keep cats tend to become schizophrenic.
* No.2:  A cat prays for the destruction of his master , a dog for his welfare.
*No.3: Couples who have a pet cat have difficulty in conceiving.
Have you ever been told such stories? Which’s your favorite one?


3 responses to “Go and catch a falling star”

  1. I never understood why that poem was included in many anthologies.
    It’s only saving grace are:

    (1) its music (I liked reading it aloud, or hearing is rhythms and surprising repetitions)

    (2) its self-parody– whoever would say that mandrake root line is either crazy or making fun of his own larger assertion.. That is, he knows the rejections are his fault, not that of the women. Or at least the listeners know that he’s passing the blame.

    (How’s that for excusing the speaker’s “sexism”?)


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