No, this is not an April Fools’ joke posted a day early. It’s a poem from one of my favorite writers, John Donne, who died on this date in 1631.
Why this poem (or any poem)? The central conceit is the compass – a powerful tool in woodworking.
After the poem (yes, yes; I know many will skip it), I’ve posted links to just some of the compass techniques and other related things we’ve published and filmed; most of them are free (but if you have any interest in blacksmithing, I can’t recommend Peter Ross’s video highly enough).
By the way: The tool that is more commonly known as “dividers” these days? Same thing.
“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“The breath goes now,” and some say, “No,”
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
Restoring a Compass: Part 1: Blog entry
Restoring a Compass: Part 2: Blog entry
Restoring a Compass: Part 3: Blog entry
Use Dividers for Quick & Easy Dovetail Layout: Video (I recommend the 2nd one, the “director’s cut)
Why I Lay Out Dovetails with Dividers: Blog entry
Spacing Dovetails with Dividers – A Little History: Blog entry
For Dividers I Fall: Blog Entry
Built to Scale: Blog entry
Learn to Lay Out an Ogee: Blog entry
Compass Layout Tricks: Video
Dividing a Cicle into Three Without a Compass or Protractor: Video
No-number Geometric Layouts: Blog entry
“Forging a Compass” – A DVD by Blacksmith Peter Ross
Design Matters: Essential Dividers: Article, Feb. 2011, Issue #188
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.