Tag Archives: John Donne

We’re All Involved

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Some of you probably saw this one coming–you know I love John Donne.

Image result for no man is an island

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John Donne on the Trinity

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This is only the first part of a litany by John Donne (my English major moment) that  deals with the trinity.

A LITANY.I.

THE FATHER.

FATHER of Heaven, and Him, by whom
It, and us for it, and all else for us,
Thou madest, and govern’st ever, come
And re-create me, now grown ruinous:
My heart is by dejection, clay,
And by self-murder, red.
From this red earth, O Father, purge away
All vicious tinctures, that new-fashioned
I may rise up from death, before I’m dead.

II.THE SON.

O Son of God, who, seeing two things,
Sin and Death, crept in, which were never made,
By bearing one, tried’st with what stings
The other could Thine heritage invade ;
O be Thou nail’d unto my heart,
And crucified again ;
Part not from it, though it from Thee would part,
But let it be by applying so Thy pain,
Drown’d in Thy blood, and in Thy passion slain.

III.

THE HOLY GHOST.

O Holy Ghost, whose temple I
Am, but of mud walls , and condensèd dust,
And being sacrilegiously
Half wasted with youth’s fires of pride and lust,
Must with new storms be weather-beat,
Double in my heart Thy flame,
Which let devout sad tears intend, and let—
Though this glass lanthorn, flesh, do suffer maim—
Fire, sacrifice, priest, altar be the same.

IV.

THE TRINITY.

O blessed glorious Trinity,
Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,
Which, as wise serpents, diversely
Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,
As you distinguish’d, undistinct,
By power, love, knowledge be,
Give me a such self different instinct,
Of these let all me elemented be,
Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three.

A Quote By John Donne

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It’s my English major moment for the month:

“Though so disobedient a servant as I may be afraid to die, yet to so merciful a master as thou I cannot be afraid to come.”

John Donne

John Donne
John Donne was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets.

John Donne on the Church

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Do you like this metaphor?  I like the idea that the church is a book that will one day be completely translated into a new and better language (but then I love books and libraries).
Engraving from Thomas More's 'Utopia'
fromDevotions Upon Emergent OccasionsMEDITATION XVII.

NUNC LENTO SONITU DICUNT, MORIERIS.

Now this bell tolling softly for another,
says to me, Thou must die.

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him.  And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.  The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all.  When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.  And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

A John Donne Sonnet on Freedom

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HOLY SONNETS. XIV.

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, Labour to admit you, but O, to no end. Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend, But is captived, and proves weak or untrue. Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved 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.
Source: Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I. E. K. Chambers, ed. London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 165.

 

 As you can see, according to Donne, Christian freedom is a paradox:  we are only free when Christ “imprisons” or “enthralls” us.  What do you think?

A Poem on Forgiveness

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Here is my John Donne poem for the month:

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
         Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
         And do run still, though still I do deplore?
                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
         Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
         A year or two, but wallow’d in, a score?
                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.
I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
         My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
         Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
                And, having done that, thou hast done;
                        I fear no more.

A Prayer of Penitence

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John Donne: A Prayer of Penitence

Act of Penitence
Forgive me, Lord, my sins
The sins of my youth,
The sins of the present;
The sins I laid upon myself in an ill pleasure,
The sins I cast upon others in an ill example;
The sins which are manifest to the whole world,
The sins which I have labored to hide from mine acquaintance,
            From mine own conscience,
            And even from my memory;
My crying sins and my whispering sins,
My ignorant sins and my willful;
Sins against my superiors, equals, servants,
Against my lovers and benefactors,
Sins against myself, mine own body, mine own soul,
Sins against thee, O almighty Father, O merciful Son,
            O blessed Spirit of God.
Forgive me, O Lord, through the merits of thine Anointed, my Savior, Jesus Christ.

John Donne

Once again something for the literary among us!

Resurrection, Imperfect by John Donne

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I don’t know how many readers will like this, but what can I say? I was an English major in one of my lives! I really like John Donne who was a church of England cleric, and one of the metaphysical poets.  If you read the entire post, you will see that the poem is titled “Imperfect” because it was unfinished.

conversant faith

resurrection imperfect

RESURRECTION, IMPERFECT

Sleep sleep old sun, thou canst not have repast
As yet, the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then, and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better Sun rose before thee today,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlightened hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walked on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral;
He was all gold when he lay down but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and…

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