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John Donne, we have a problem.

Both Cats and I have recently reffed John Donne’s “To his Mistress Going to Bed”. He reffed it as Donne’s XIXth Elegy and I called it the XXth.

Which is it?

I tried the hypertome of the intermong and found this and this.

And why the confusion?

I’m now going to say something very rarely heard. We need an English Literature graduate urgently!


  1. fraggle says:

    It’s shown as XIX in my copy of The Penguin Poets, John Donne. Edited by John Hayward. First published 1950, my copy is the 1964 edition. No ISBN that I can find, bit early I guess. Not an Eng. Lit. grad I’m afraid, but even engineers can read ;)

  2. RichardB says:

    I always knew it as XIX as well (Hayward’s anthology and others). And I am an Eng Lit grad, and can also dismantle a motorbike. ;)

  3. PT Barnum says:

    The elegies were never published in Donne’s lifetime so no sequence was ever established based on authorial intent. Plus, the elegy ‘Sapho to Philaenis’ is disputed in some quarters as to its authorship. So editions with it have 20 elegies, and without it have 19.

  4. NickM says:

    Richard wins. Tentatively. He get’s the virtual cigar only if he can also re-assemble a motorbike.

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