Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness
John Donne, Poems, 2nd edition (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1635). STC 7046. stc Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
2 Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
4 I tune the instrument here at the door,
5 And what I must do then, think here before.
6Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
7 Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
8Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
9 That this is my south-west discovery,
11I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
12 For, though their currents yield return to none,
14 In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
15 So death doth touch the resurrection.
16Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
17 The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
19 All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
20 Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.
22 Christ's cross, and Adam's tree, stood in one place;
23Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
24 As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
25 May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.
26So, in his purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord;
27 By these his thorns, give me his other crown;
28And as to others' souls I preach'd thy word,
29 Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
30"Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down."
1] Walton says this poem was written in March 1631, a few days before Donne's death, but this has been questioned in favour of 1623. Back to Line
3] thy music: part of God's orchestra or company of musicians. Back to Line
10] Per fretum febris: through the straits of fever, with a pun on straits. Back to Line
13] In one of his sermons Donne writes: "In a flat Map there goes no more to make West East, though they be distant in an extremity but to paste that flat map upon a round body, and then West and East are all one ... conforme thee to him [Christ] and thy West is East ... the name of Christ is Oriens, the East....'' Back to Line
18] Anyan: Bering Straits. Back to Line
21] There is no authority for any precise identity, but appropriate correspondences of this kind are common in early biblical commentaries; place may mean `region.' Back to Line
Publication Start Year:
RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott