Posts Tagged ‘John Donne’

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness

 Since I am coming to that holy room,
        Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
    I shall be made thy music; as I come
        I tune the instrument here at the door,
        And what I must do then, think here before.

    Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
        Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
    Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
        That this is my south-west discovery,
    Per fretum febris, by these straits to die,

  I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
      For, though their currents yield return to none,
  What shall my west hurt me? As west and east
      In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
      So death doth touch the resurrection.

  Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
      The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
  Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
      All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
      Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

  We think that Paradise and Calvary,
      Christ’s cross, and Adam’s tree, stood in one place;
  Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
      As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face,
      May the last Adam’s blood my soul embrace.

  So, in his purple wrapp’d, receive me, Lord;
      By these his thorns, give me his other crown;
  And as to others’ souls I preach’d thy word,
      Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
  “Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down.”

John Donne died this date, 3/31/1631.  Donne was born on Bread Street, 1/24/1573 at London.  He was first educated by Jesuits, then studied at Oxford and later Cambridge.  He was twenty-one when he left the Roman Catholic system though he did not publish his Pseudo-Martyr and Ignatius his Conclave (anti-catholic works) until 1610, 1611 respectfully.  He was ordained for Church of England and became known as one of the more remarkable poet-preachers of his day. Some of his earlier poetry is undesirable but his later works show a clear spiritual side. Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623-1624) contains his most quoted line: “No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind.”  A couple other well known lines are “For whom does the bell toll?  It tolls for thee” and “Death be not proud.”

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“As peace is of all goodness,

so war is an emblem, a hieroglyphic, of all misery.”


“Keep us, Lord, so awake in the duties of our callings

that we may sleep in Thy peace and wake in Thy glory.”


“No man is an island entire of itself…” (the beginning of his most quote)


“No man ever saw God and lived.

And yet, I shall not live till I see God;

and when I have seen him, I shall never die.”


“Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it.”

            – all the above are attributed to Donne-

John Donne, on this date, 2/15/ 1631 brought his last sermon.  He was born in 1573 at London and died 3/31/1631.  John Donne changed from a “love poet” (some might say “the greatest of the English” tongue) to a minister, preaching the Gospel of Christ.

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Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to’another due,
Labor to’admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly’I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me,’untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you’enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne was born this date (1/24/1573 – * date is in dispute) in London.  Though his family was Roman Catholic he converted to the Church of England.

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