Holy Sonnets: Show me dear Christ, thy spouse so bright and clear
Edmund Gosse, ed., The Life and Letters of John Donne, 2 vols. (London: Heinemann, 1899.) ROBA PR 2248 G6
4Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
5Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
6Is she self-truth, and errs? now new, now outwore?
7Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
9Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
10First travel we to seek, and then make love?
11Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
12And let mine amorous soul court thy mild Dove,
13Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
14When she'is embrac'd and open to most men.
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
2] the church of Rome, with its richness of ceremony. Back to Line
3] probably the Protestant churches in Germany, rather than Geneva, which is the point of reference in Satire in line 50. Back to Line
8] on one, on seven, or on no hill: the hill of Solomon's temple, Mount Moriah; the seven hills of Rome; and Geneva. Back to Line
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RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott