Holy Sonnets: Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
John Donne, Poems, 2nd edn. (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1635). STC 7046. stc Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
2Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste,
3I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
4And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
5I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
6Despair behind, and death before doth cast
7Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
8By sin in it, which it t'wards hell doth weigh.
9Only thou art above, and when towards thee
10By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
11But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
12That not one hour I can myself sustain;
13Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
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
14] adamant: loadstone. Back to Line
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RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott