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NPM: John Donne

April 25, 2007

Another personal favorite when it comes to poetry is John Donne. Here are a couple of his works that I greatly enjoy:

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.


Batter my heart, three-person’d God

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.

What poems speak to you? Please share your thoughts.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    April 25, 2007 12:54 pm

    I like this one by Anne Bradstreet… she falls chronologically between your other 2 poems.

    “Flesh and Spirit”

    In secret place where once I stood
    Close by the Banks of Lacrim flood,
    I heard two sisters reason on
    Things that are past and things to come.
    One Flesh was called, who had her eye
    On worldly wealth and vanity;
    The other Spirit, who did rear
    Her thoughts unto a higher sphere.
    “Sister,” quoth Flesh, “what liv’st thou on
    Nothing but Meditation?
    Doth Contemplation feed thee so
    Regardlessly to let earth go?
    Can Speculation satisfy
    Notion without Reality?
    Dost dream of things beyond the Moon
    And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?
    Hast treasures there laid up in store
    That all in th’ world thou count’st but poor?
    Art fancy-sick or turn’d a Sot
    To catch at shadows which are not?
    Come, come. I’ll show unto thy sense,
    Industry hath its recompence.
    What canst desire, but thou maist see
    True substance in variety?
    Dost honour like? Acquire the same,
    As some to their immortal fame;
    And trophies to thy name erect
    Which wearing time shall ne’er deject.
    For riches dost thou long full sore?
    Behold enough of precious store.
    Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold
    Than eyes can see or hands can hold.
    Affects thou pleasure? Take thy fill.
    Earth hath enough of what you will.
    Then let not go what thou maist find
    For things unknown only in mind.”

    Spirit.
    “Be still, thou unregenerate part,
    Disturb no more my settled heart,
    For I have vowed (and so will do)
    Thee as a foe still to pursue,
    And combat with thee will and must
    Until I see thee laid in th’ dust.
    Sister we are, yea twins we be,
    Yet deadly feud ‘twixt thee and me,
    For from one father are we not.
    Thou by old Adam wast begot,
    But my arise is from above,
    Whence my dear father I do love.
    Thou speak’st me fair but hat’st me sore.
    Thy flatt’ring shews I’ll trust no more.
    How oft thy slave hast thou me made
    When I believed what thou hast said
    And never had more cause of woe
    Than when I did what thou bad’st do.
    I’ll stop mine ears at these thy charms
    And count them for my deadly harms.
    Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
    Thy riches are to me no bait.
    Thine honours do, nor will I love,
    For my ambition lies above.
    My greatest honour it shall be
    When I am victor over thee,
    And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
    When thou my Captive shalt be led.
    How I do live, thou need’st not scoff,
    For I have meat thou know’st not of.
    The hidden Manna I do eat;
    The word of life, it is my meat.
    My thoughts do yield me more content
    Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
    Nor are they shadows which I catch,
    Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
    But reach at things that are so high,
    Beyond thy dull Capacity.
    Eternal substance I do see
    With which inriched I would be.
    Mine eye doth pierce the heav’ns and see
    What is Invisible to thee.
    My garments are not silk nor gold,
    Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
    But Royal Robes I shall have on,
    More glorious than the glist’ring Sun.
    My Crown not Diamonds, Pearls, and gold,
    But such as Angels’ heads infold.
    The City where I hope to dwell,
    There’s none on Earth can parallel.
    The stately Walls both high and trong
    Are made of precious Jasper stone,
    The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
    And Angels are for Porters there.
    The Streets thereof transparent gold
    Such as no Eye did e’re behold.
    A Crystal River there doth run
    Which doth proceed from the Lamb’s Throne.
    Of Life, there are the waters sure
    Which shall remain forever pure.
    Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
    For glory doth from God proceed.
    No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
    For there shall be no darksome night.
    From sickness and infirmity
    Forevermore they shall be free.
    Nor withering age shall e’re come there,
    But beauty shall be bright and clear.
    This City pure is not for thee,
    For things unclean there shall not be.
    If I of Heav’n may have my fill,
    Take thou the world, and all that will.”

  2. Bamadawg1980 permalink
    April 25, 2007 2:30 pm

    Ben, what great things to think on! Thanks for sharing it.

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