And a Happy Birthday to John Donne

John Donne miniature by Isaac Oliver
Portrait by Isaac Oliver. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Today is the 444th birthday of John Donne, who—sharing the title with Seamus Heaney and W. B. Yeats—is my favorite poet. And while I could talk about my love of “Holy Sonnet XIV” or what a shame it is that more of The Oxford Book of English Verse isn’t devoted to Donne’s work, I think it’s better to let the man speak for himself.

                “Hymn to God the Father”

                           by John Donne

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 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.

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2 thoughts on “And a Happy Birthday to John Donne

  1. I’ve been studying Donne’s poetry lately, but I had no idea it was his birthday. I love the (somewhat shocking) conceits he, along with George Herbert and Robert Southwell, uses to portray Christian ideas. Thanks for sharing! I recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed your reviews.

    Like

    1. To tell you the truth, I had no idea it was Donne’s birthday either until an hour or two before this post went up. 😀

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the reviews. Thanks for letting me know!

      Like

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