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- THOU hast made me, And shall thy worke decay?
- Repaire me now, for now mine end doth haste,
- I runne to death, and death meets me as fast,
- And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
- I dare not move my dimme eyes any way,
- Despaire behind, and death before doth cast
- Such terrour, and my feeble flesh doth waste
- By sinne in it, which it t'wards hell doth weigh;
- Onely thou art above, and when towards thee
- By thy leave I can looke, I rise againe;
- But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
- That not one houre my selfe I can sustaine;
- Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art,
- And thou like Adamant draw mine iron heart.
- As due by many titles I resigne
- My selfe to thee, O God, first I was made
- By thee, and for thee, and when I was decay'd
- Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine;
- I am thy sonne, made with thy selfe to shine,
- Thy servant, whose paines thou hast still repaid,
- Thy sheepe, thine Image, and, till I betray'd
- My selfe, a temple of thy Spirit divine;
- Why doth the devill then usurpe on mee?
- Why doth he steale, nay ravish that's thy right?
- Except thou rise and for thine own worke fight,
- Oh I shall soone despaire, when I doe see
- That thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt'not chuse me,
- And Satan hates mee, yet is loth to lose mee.
- O might those sighes and teares returne againe
- Into my breast and eyes, which I have spent,
- That I might in this holy discontent
- Mourne with some fruit, as I have mourn'd in vaine;
- In mine Idolatry what showres of raine
- Mine eyes did waste? what griefs my heart did rent?
- That sufferance was my sinne; now I repent;
- 'Cause I did sufffer I must suffer paine.
- Th'hydroptique drunkard, and night-scouting thiefe,
- The itchy Lecher, and selfe-tickling proud
- Have the remembrance of past joyes, for reliefe
- Of comming ills. To (poore) me is allow'd
- No ease; for, long, yet vehement griefe hath beene
- Th'effect and cause, the punishment and sinne.
- Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art summoned
- By sicknesse, deaths herald, and champion;
- Thou art like a pilgrim, which abroad hath done
- Treason, and durst not turne to whence hee is fled,
- Or like a thiefe, which till deaths doome be read,
- Wisheth himselfe delivered from prison;
- But damn'd and hal'd to execution,
- Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned.
- Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lacke;
- But who shall give thee that grace to beginne?
- Oh make thy selfe with holy mourning blacke,
- And red with blushing, as thou art with sinne;
- Or wash thee in Christs blood, which hath this might
- That being red, it dyes red soules to white.
- I am a little world made cunningly
- Of Elements, and an Angelike spright,
- But black sinne hath betraid to endlesse night
- My worlds both parts, and (oh) both parts must die.
- You which beyond that heaven which was most high
- Have found new sphears, and of new lands can write,
- Powre new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
- Drowne my world with my weeping earnestly,
- Or wash it if it must be drown'd no more;
- But oh it must be burnt! alas the fire
- Of lust and envie have burnt it heretofore,
- And made it fouler; Let their flames retire,
- And burne me o Lord, with a fiery zeale
- Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heale.
- This is my playes last scene, here heavens appoint
- My pilgrimages last mile; and my race
- Idly, yet quickly runne, hath this last pace,
- My spans last inch, my minutes latest point,
- And gluttonous death, will instantly unjoynt
- My body, and soule, and I shall sleepe a space,
- But my'ever-waking part shall see that face,
- Whose feare already shakes my every joynt;
- Then, as my soule, to'heaven her first seate, takes flight,
- And earth-borne body, in the earth shall dwelll,
- So, fall my sinnes, that all may have their right,
- To where they're bred, and would presse me, to hell.
- Impute me righteous, thus purg'd of evill,
- For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devill.
- At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
- Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
- From death, you numberlesse infinities
- Of soules, and to your scattred bodies goe,
- All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
- All whom warre, dearth, sage, agues, tyrannies,
- Despaire, law chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
- Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
- But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
- For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
- 'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
- When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
- Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
- As if thou'hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.
- If faithfull soules be alike glorifi'd
- As Angels, then my fathers soul doth see,
- And adds this even to full felecitie,
- That valiantly I hels wide mouth o'stride:
- But if our mindes to these soules be descry'd
- By circumstances, and by signes that be
- Apparent in us, not immediately,
- How shall my mindes white truth by them be try'd?
- They see idolatrous lovers weepe and mourne,
- And vile blasphemous Conjurers to call
- On Jesus name, and Pharisaicall
- Dissemblers feigne devotion. Then turne
- O pensive soule, to God, for he knows best
- Thy true griefe, for he put it in my breast.
- If poysonous mineralls, and if that tree,
- Whose fruit threw death on else immortall us,
- If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
- Cannot be damn'd; Alas; why should I bee?
- Why should intent or reason, borne in mee,
- Make sinnes, else equall, in mee more heinous?
- And mercy being easie, and glorious
- To God; in his sterne wrath, why threatens hee?
- But who am I , that dare dispute with thee
- O God? Oh! of thine onely worthy blood,
- And my teares, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
- And drowne in it my sinnes black memorie;
- That thou remember them, some claime as debt,
- I thinke it mercy if thou wilt forget.
- Death be not proud, though some have called thee
- Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
- For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
- Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
- From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
- Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
- And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
- Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
- Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
- And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
- And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
- And better than thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
- One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
- And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
- Spit in my face you Jewes, and pierce my side,
- Buffet, and scoffe, scourge, and crucifie mee,
- For I have sinn'd, and sinn'd, and onely hee,
- Who could do no iniquitie, hath dyed:
- But by my death can not be satisfied
- My sinnes, which passe the Jewes impiety:
- They kill'd once an inglorious man, but I
- Crucifie him daily, being now glorified.
- Oh let mee then, his strange love still admire:
- Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment.
- And Jacob came cloth'd in vile harsh attire
- But to supplant, and with gainfull intent:
- God cloth'd himselfe in vile mans flesh, that so
- Hee might be weake enought to suffer woe.
- Why are wee by all creatures waited on?
- Why doe the prodigall elements supply
- Life and food to mee, being more pure than I,
- Simple, and further from corruption?
- Why brook'st thou, ignorant horse, subjection?
- Why dost thou bull, and bore so seelily
- Dissemble weaknesse, and by one mans stroke die,
- Whose whole kinde, you might swallow and feed upon?
- Weaker I am, woe is mee, and worse than you,
- You have not sinn'd, nor need be timorous.
- But wonder at a greater wonder, for to us
- Created nature doth these things subdue,
- But their Creator, whom sin, nor nature tyed,
- For us, his Creatures, and his foes, hath dyed.
- What if this present were the worlds last night?
- Marke in my heart, O Soule, where thou dost dwell,
- The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
- Whether that countenance can thee affright,
- Teares in his eyes quench the amazing light,
- Blood fills his frownes, which from his pierc'd head fell.
- And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell,
- Which pray'd forgiveness for his foes fierce spight?
- No, no; but as in my idolatrie
- I said to all my profane mistresses,
- Beauty, of pitty, foulnesse onely is
- A sign of rigour: so I say to thee,
- To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assign'd,
- This beauteous forme assures a pitious minde.
- Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
- As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend,
- That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee, and bend
- Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
- I, like an usurpt towne, to another due,
- Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
- Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
- But is captiv'd , and proves weake or untrue.
- Yet dearely I love you, and would be loved faine,
- But am betroth'd unto your enemie:
- Divorce mee, untie, or breake that knot againe,
- Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
- Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
- Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
- Wilt thou love God, as he thee? then digest,
- My Soule, this wholsome meditation,
- How God the Spirit, by Angels waited on
- In heaven, doth make his Temple in thy brest.
- The Father having begot a Sonne most blest,
- And still begetting, (for he ne'r begonne)
- Hath deign'd to chuse thee by adoption,
- Coheire to his glory, and Sabbaths endlesse rest;
- And as a robb'd man, which by search doth finde
- His stolne stuffe sold, must lose or buy it againe;
- The Sonne of glory came downe, and was slaine,
- Us whom he had made, and Satan stolne, to unbinde.
- 'Twas much, that man was made like God before,
- But, that God should be made like man, much more.
- Father, part of his double interest
- Unto thy kingdome, thy Sonne gives to mee,
- His joynture in the knottie Trinitie
- Hee keepes, and gives to me his deaths conquest.
- This Lambe, whose death, with life the world hath blest,
- Was from the worlds beginning slaine, and he
- Hath made two Wills, which with the Legacie
- Of his and thy kingdome, doe thy Sonnes invest.
- Yet such are thy laws, that men argue yet
- Whether a man those statutes can fulfill;
- None doth; but all-healing grace and spirit
- Revive againe what law and letter kill.
- Thy lawes abridgement, and thy last command
- Is all but love; Oh let this last Will stand!
- Since she whom I lov'd hath payd her last debt
- To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,
- And her Scule early into heaven ravished,
- Wholly on heavenly things my mind is sett.
- Here the admyring her my mind did whett
- To seeke thee God; so streames do shew their head;
- But though I have found thee, and thou my thirst hast fed,
- A holy thirsty dropsy melts mee yet.
- But why should I begg more Love, when as thou
- Dost wooe my soule for hers; offring all thine:
- And dost not only feare least I allow
- My Love to Saints and Angels things divine,
- But in thy tender jealousy dost doubt
- Least in the World. Fleshe, yea Devill put thee out.
- Show me deare Christ, thy Spouse, so bright and clear.
- What! is it She, which on the other shore
- Goes richly painted? or which rob'd and tore
- Laments and mournes in Germany and here?
- Sleepes she a thousand, then peepes up one yeare?
- Is she selfe truth and errs? now new, now outwore?
- Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
- On one, on seaven, or on no hill appeare?
- Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
- First travaile we to seek and then make Love?
- Betray kind husband thy spouse to our sights,
- And let myne amorous soule court thy mild Dove,
- Who is most trew, and pleasing to thee, then
- When she is embrac'd and open to most men.
- Oh, to vex me, contraryes meet in one:
- Inconstancy unnaturally hath begott
- A constant habit; that when I would not
- I change in vowes, and in devotione.
- As humorous is my contritione
- As my prophane Love, and as soone forgott:
- As ridlingly distemper'd, cold and hott,
- As praying, as mute; as infinite, as none.
- I durst not view heaven yesterday; and to day
- In prayers, and flattering speaches I court God:
- To morrow I quake with true feare of his rod.
- So my devout fitts come and go away
- Like a fantistique Ague: save that here
- Those are my best dayes, when I shake with feare.
- John Donne
Poets' Corner .
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