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John Donne
Divine Poems



Divine Poems


A Hymn to Christ
at the Author's Last Going into Germany.

In what torn ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood;
Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face; yet through that mask I know those eyes,
   Which, though they turn away sometimes,
      They never will despise.

I sacrifice this Island unto thee,
And all whom I loved there, and who loved me;
When I have put our seas 'twixt them and me,
Put thou thy sea betwixt my sins and thee.
As the tree's sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter now I go,
   Where none but thee, th' eternal root
      Of true love I may know.

Nor thou nor thy religion dost control,
The amorousness of an harmonious soul,
But thou wouldst have that love thyself: as thou
Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now,
Thou lov'st not, till from loving more, thou free
My soul; who ever gives, takes liberty:
   O, if thou car'st not whom I love
      Alas, thou lov'st not me.

Seal then this bill of my divorce to all,
On whom those fainter beams of love did fall;
Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be
On fame, wit, hopes (false mistresses) to thee.
Churches are best for prayer, that have least light:
To see God only, I go out of sight:
   And to 'scape stormy days, I choose
      An everlasting night.

A Hymn to God the Father.

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
   Which is 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 by 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 wallowed 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 thy self, 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.

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 wrapped 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.
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