Holy Sonnets: This is my play's last scene
John Donne, Poems, by J. D. With elegies on the authors death (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1633). MICF no. 556 ROBA. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar Press, 1969. PR 2245 A2 1633A. STC 7045.
2My pilgrimage's last mile; and my race,
3Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace,
4My span's last inch, my minute's latest point;
5And gluttonous death will instantly unjoint
6My body and my soul, and I shall sleep a space;
7But my'ever-waking part shall see that face
8Whose fear already shakes my every joint.
9Then, as my soul to'heaven, her first seat, takes flight,
10And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,
11So fall my sins, that all may have their right,
12To where they'are bred, and would press me, to hell.
14For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.
1] The problem of the order and date of the nineteen poems called the "Holy Sonnets'' is very complicated. They have usually been numbered in sequence, but the traditional order has been convincingly questioned by Dame Helen Gardner in her edition of Donne's Divine Poems and is here not indicated. The first two in this selection were first published in 1635, the next five in 1633, the final two, entirely unconnected, not until 1894 and 1899 respectively. Most of the sonnets were probably written about 1609, but "Since she whom I lov'd" was written after the death of Donne's wife in 1617, and "Show me dear Christ" perhaps even later. Back to Line
13] Impute me righteous: see note on Satire in line 13; Adam's sin is imputed to all his descendants but man is also imputed righteous by the merit of Christ. Back to Line
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N. J. Endicott