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Entries in Sunday (31)


Holy Sonnet 10

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou thinkest 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 swellest thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

- John Donne


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.


Oh God, You Are My God

I'm continuing to enjoy Fernando Ortega's recording The Shadow of Your Wings. This is a short song, based on Psalm 63. It is a wonderful example of how one can set the Psalms to music.

Oh God, you are my God
Earnestly I seek you
My sould thirsts for you
My flesh yearns for you
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water

I remember you at night
Through the watches of the night
In the shadow of your wings
I sing because you helped me
My soul clings to you
And your hand upholds me
You alone


Prayer for children

From the Olney Hymns
Prayer For Children
William Cowper 

Gracious Lord, our children see,
By thy mercy we are free;
But shall these, alas! remain
Subjects still of Satan’s reign?
Israel’s young ones, when of old
Pharaoh threatened to withhold;

Then thy messenger said,
“No; Let the children also go.” 

When the angel of the Lord
Drawing forth his dreadful sword,
Slew, with an avenging hand,
All the first–born of the land:

Then thy peoples’ doors he passed,
Where the bloody sign was placed;
Hear us, now, upon our knees,
Plead the blood of CHRIST for these!

LORD we tremble, for we know
How the fierce malicious foe;
Wheeling round his watchful flight,
Keeps them ever in his sight:
Spread thy pinions, King of kings!
Hide them safe beneath thy wings;
Lest the rav’nous bird of prey
Stoop, and bear the brood away. 


The House of Prayer

From the Olney Hymns
Hymn 96, William Cowper


Thy mansion is the christian’s heart,
O LORD, thy dwelling–place secure!
Bid the unruly throng depart,
And leave the consecrated door.

Devoted as it is to thee,
A thievish swarm frequents the place;
They steal away my joys from me,
And rob my Savior of his praise.

There too a sharp designing trade Sin,
Satan, and the world, maintain;
Nor cease to press me, and persuade,
To part with ease and purchase pain.

I know them, and I hate their din,
Am weary of the bustling crowd;
But while their voice is heard within,
I cannot serve thee as I would.

O! for the joy thy presence gives,
What peace shall reign when thou art here!
Thy presence makes this den of thieves,
A calm delightful house of prayer.

And if thou make thy temple thine,
Yet, self–abased, will I adore;
The gold and silver are not mine,
I give thee what was thine before.