when Donne is done

Came across this, and liked it, although without knowing all that much about the metaphysical poets.

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt Thou forgive the 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 by which I’ve 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 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.

– John Donne

4 thoughts on “when Donne is done

  1. Hi Cath

    Really fascinating site. Loved the Donne too. You’ve probably read it already, but here’s my favourite one of his –



    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.


  2. I like it! Thanks!

    Although if I may confess it, I don’t think I’d so much as seen it till I searched around yesterday for more by JD (that’s pretty shameful eh).

    Have briefly admired George Herbert in the past but only his very famous ones!


  3. Ah, that takes me back to the old days, of watching helplessly from the sidelines as my EngLit-suffering flatmates ploughed through their incomprehensible tomes! In EngLang we were largely spared.


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