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Holy Sonnet 1

In the fall, I bought a book called The Soul in Paraphrase, which is edited by Leland Ryken. It is a collection of devotional poems. It really is a lovely book. I hope to share some of my favourites over the course of 2019. John Donne (1572-1631) is one of my favourite poets, and in January, I plan to share four of his Holy Sonnets.

Donne followed the pattern of a typical Italian Sonnet. Yes, the language is old fashioned, but if you read the poems aloud, and follow the punctuation, they are much easier to understand.

Holy Sonnet 1 is called "Thou Hast Made me, and Shall Thy Work Decay?"

Thou has made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
I dare not move my dim eyes any way;
Despair behind and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour I can my self sustain;
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.

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