Of the Progress of the Soul: The Second Anniversary
John Donne, The first anniversarie. An anatomie (The second anniversarie. Of the progres of the soule) (M. Bradwood for S. Macham, 1612). STC 7023.
OF THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL
by occasion of the religious death of Mistress
Elizabeth Drury, the incommodities of the soul in this her life, and her
exaltation in the next, are contemplated
THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY
Forget this rotten world, and unto thee
50Let thine own times as an old story be.
51Be not concern'd; study not why, nor when;
52Do not so much as not believe a man.
53For though to err, be worst, to try truths forth
54Is far more business than this world is worth.
55I'he world is but a carcass; thou art fed
56By it, but as a worm, that carcass bred;
57And why shouldst thou, poor worm, consider more,
58When this world will grow better than before,
59Than those thy fellow-worms do think upon
60That carcass's last resurrection?
61Forget this world, and scarce think of it so,
62As of old clothes, cast off a year ago.
63To be thus stupid is alacrity;
64Men thus lethargic have best memory.
65Look upward; that's towards her, whose happy state
66We now lament not, but congratulate.
67She, to whom all this world was but a stage,
68Where all sat heark'ning how her youthful age
69Should be employ'd, because in all she did
71Who could not lack, what'er this world could give,
73Nor could complain that this world was unfit
74To be stay'd in, then when she was in it;
75She, that first tried indifferent desires
76By virtue, and virtue by religious fires;
77She, to whose person paradise adher'd,
78As courts to princes; she, whose eyes enspher'd
79Star-light enough t' have made the South control,
80(Had she been there) the star-full Northern Pole;
81She, she is gone; she is gone; when thou knowest this,
82What fragmentary rubbish this world is
83Thou knowest, and that it is not worth a thought;
84He honours it too much that thinks it nought.
85Think then, my soul, that death is but a groom,
86Which brings a taper to the outward room,
87Whence thou spiest first a little glimmering light,
88And after brings it nearer to thy sight;
89For such approaches doth heaven make in death.
90Think thyself labouring now with broken breath,
91And think those broken and soft notes to be
93Think thee laid on thy death-bed, loose and slack,
94And think that but unbinding of a pack,
95To take one precious thing, thy soul, from thence.
96Think thyself parch'd with fever's violence;
97Anger thine ague more, by calling it
98Thy physic; chide the slackness of the fit.
99Think that thou hear'st thy knell, and think no more,
100But that, as bells call'd thee to church before,
101So this to the Triumphant Church calls thee.
103And think that but for legacies they thrust;
104Give one thy pride, to'another give thy lust;
105Give them those sins which they gave thee before,
107Think thy friends weeping round, and think that they
108Weep but because they go not yet thy way.
109Think that they close thine eyes, and think in this,
110That they confess much in the world amiss,
111Who dare not trust a dead man's eye with that
112Which they from God and angels cover not.
113Think that they shroud thee up, and think from thence
115Think that thy body rots, and (if so low,
116Thy soul exalted so, thy thoughts can go)
117Think thee a prince, who of themselves create
118Worms, which insensibly devour their state.
119Think that they bury thee, and think that rite
70] the golden times: the age of gold, the mythical first and best age of the world in Greek and Roman poetry. Back to Line
72] i.e., because she was the soul of the world. See note on "The First Anniversary," line 37. Back to Line
92] Division: a rapid melodic sequence in music, but here also used punningly. Back to Line
102] sergeants: bailiffs who arrested for debt, etc. Back to Line
106] score: reckoning. Back to Line
114] reinvest: reclothe. Back to Line
120] Saint-Lucy's night: the longest in the year, but from which we waken. Back to Line
Publication Start Year:
RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott