Make your own free website on
"Sometimes in the cool of the evening, the truth comes like a lover through the wind." - John Michael Talbot

John Donne - The Holy Sonnets

Holy Sonnet 1 Holy Sonnet 11
Holy Sonnet 2 Holy Sonnet 12
Holy Sonnet 3 Holy Sonnet 13
Holy Sonnet 4 Holy Sonnet 14
Holy Sonnet 5 Holy Sonnet 15
Holy Sonnet 6 Holy Sonnet 16
Holy Sonnet 7 Holy Sonnet 17
Holy Sonnet 8 Holy Sonnet 18
Holy Sonnet 9 Holy Sonnet 19
Holy Sonnet 10

Holy Sonnet 1
     by John Donne

     Thou hast made me, and shall Thy work decay?
     Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste,
     I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
     And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
     I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
     Despair behind, and death before doth cast
     Such terror, and my feeble flesh doth waste
     By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh;
     Only Thou art above, and when towards Thee
     By Thy leave I can look, I rise again;
     But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
     That not one hour myself I can sustain;
     Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art,
     And thou like Adamant draw mine iron heart.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 2
     by John Donne

     As due by many titles I resign
     My self to Thee, O God; first I was made
     By Thee, and for Thee, and when I was decayed
     Thy blood bought that, the which before was Thine;
     I am Thy son, made with Thy Self to shine,
     Thy servant, whose pains Thou hast still repaid,
     Thy sheep, thine image, and, till I betrayed
     My self, a temple of Thy Spirit divine;
     Why doth the devil then usurp on me?
     Why doth he steal, nay ravish that's thy right?
     Except thou rise and for thine own work fight,
     Oh I shall soon despair, when I do see
     That thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt not choose me,
     And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 3
     by John Donne

     O might those sighs and tears return again
     Into my breast and eyes, which I have spent,
     That I might in this holy discontent
     Mourn with some fruit, as I have mourned in vain;
     In mine Idolatry what showers of rain
     Mine eyes did waste! what griefs my heart did rent!
     That sufferance was my sin; now I repent;
     'Cause I did suffer I must suffer pain.
     Th' hydropic drunkard, and night-scouting thief,
     The itchy lecher, and self-tickling proud
     Have the remembrance of past joys for relief
     Of comming ills. To (poor) me is allowed
     No ease; for long, yet vehement grief hath been
     Th' effect and cause, the punishment and sin.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 4
     by John Donne

     Oh my black soul! now art thou summoned
     By sickness, death's herald, and champion;
     Thou art like a pilgrim, which abroad hath done
     Treason, and durst not turn to whence he is fled;
     Or like a thief, which till death's doom be read,
     Wisheth himself delivered from prison,
     But damned and haled to execution,
     Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned.
     Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack;
     But who shall give thee that grace to begin?
     Oh make thy self with holy mourning black,
     And red with blushing, as thou art with sin;
     Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might
     That being red, it dyes red souls to white.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 5
     by John Donne

     I am a little world made cunningly
     Of elements and an angelic sprite,
     But black sin hath betray'd to endless night
     My world's both parts, and oh both parts must die.
     You which beyond that heaven which was most high
     Have found new spheres, and of new lands can write,
     Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
     Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
     Or wash it, if it must be drown'd no more.
     But oh it must be burnt; alas the fire
     Of lust and envy have burnt it heretofore,
     And made it fouler; let their flames retire,
     And burn me O Lord, with a fiery zeal
     Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heal.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 6
     by John Donne

	This is my play's last scene; here heavens appoint
	My pilgrimage's last mile; and my race,
	Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace,
	My span's last inch, my minute's latest point;
	And gluttonous death will instantly unjoint
	My body and my soul, and I shall sleep a space;
	But my'ever-waking part shall see that face
	Whose fear already shakes my every joint.
	Then, as my soul to'heaven, her first seat, takes flight,
	And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,
	So fall my sins, that all may have their right,
	To where they'are bred, and would press me, to hell.
	Impute me righteous, thus purg'd of evil,
	For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 7
     by John Donne

	At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow
	Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
	From death, you numberless infinities
	Of souls, and to your scatter'd bodies go;
	All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
	All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
	Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
	Shall behold God and never taste death's woe.
	But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
	For if above all these my sins abound,
	'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
	When we are there; here on this lowly ground
	Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
	As if thou'hadst seal'd my pardon with thy blood.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 8
     by John Donne

     If faithful souls be alike glorified
     As angels, then my fathers soul doth see,
     And adds this even to full felicity,
     That valiantly I hells wide mouth o'erstride:
     But if our minds to these souls be descried
     By circumstances, and by signs that be
     Apparent in us, not immediately,
     How shall my mind's white truth by them be tried?
     They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,
     And vile blasphemous conjurers to call
     On Jesus name, and Pharisaical
     Dissemblers feigne devotion. Then turn,
     O pensive soul, to God, for he knows best
     Thy true grief, for he put it in my breast.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 9
     by John Donne

	If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
	Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
	If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
	Cannot be damn'd, alas, why should I be?
	Why should intent or reason, born in me,
	Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
	And mercy being easy, and glorious
	To God, in his stern wrath why threatens he?
	But who am I, that dare dispute with thee,
	O God? Oh, of thine only worthy blood
	And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
	And drown in it my sins' black memory.
	That thou remember them, some claim as debt;
	I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 10
     by John Donne

	Death, be not proud, though some have callèd thee
	Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
	For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
	Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
	From rest and sleep, which yet thy pictures be,
	Much pleasure, then from thee much more, must low
	And soonest our best men with thee do go,
	Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
	Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men
	And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
	And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
	And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then ?
	One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
	And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 11
     by John Donne

     Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side,
     Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
     For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he
     Who could do no iniquity hath died:
     But by my death can not be satisfied
     My sins, which pass the Jews' impiety:
     They killed once an inglorious man, but I
     Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
     Oh let me, then, his strange love still admire:
     Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment.
     And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire
     But to supplant, and with gainful intent:
     God clothed himself in vile man's flesh, that so
     He might be weak enough to suffer woe.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 12
     by John Donne

     Why are we by all creatures waited on?
     Why do the prodigal elements supply
     Life and food to me, being more pure than I,
     Simple, and further from corruption?
     Why brook'st thou, ignorant horse, subjection?
     Why dost thou, bull, and bore so seelily,
     Dissemble weakness, and by one man's stroke die,
     Whose whole kind you might swallow and feed upon?
     Weaker I am, woe is me, and worse than you,
     You have not sinned, nor need be timorous.
     But wonder at a greater wonder, for to us
     Created nature doth these things subdue,
     But their Creator, whom sin nor nature tied,
     For us, His creatures, and His foes, hath died.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 13
     by John Donne

     What if this present were the world's last night?
     Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,
     The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
     Whether that countenance can thee affright,
     Tears in his eyes quench the amazing light,
     Blood fills his frowns, which from his pierced head fell.
     And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell,
     Which prayed forgiveness for his foes' fierce spite?
     No, no; but as in my idolatry
     I said to all my profane mistresses,
     Beauty, of pity, foulness only is
     A sign of rigour: so I say to thee,
     To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assigned,
     This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 14
     by John Donne

     Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
     As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
     That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
     Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
     I, like an usurped town, to another due,
     Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end.
     Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
     But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
     Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
     But am betrothed unto your enemy:
     Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
     Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
     Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
     Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 15
     by John Donne

     Wilt thou love God, as he thee? Then digest,
     My soul, this wholesome meditation,
     How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
     In heaven, doth make his Temple in thy breast.
     The Father having begot a Son most blest,
     And still begetting, (for he ne'er be gone)
     Hath deigned to choose thee by adoption,
     Co-heir t' his glory, and Sabbath' endless rest.
     And as a robbed man, which by search doth find
     His stol'n stuff sold, must lose or buy 't again:
     The Son of glory came down, and was slain,
     Us whom he'd made, and Satan stol'n, to unbind.
     'Twas much that man was made like God before,
     But, that God should be made like man, much more.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 16
     by John Donne

     Father, part of his double interest
     Unto thy kingdom, thy Son gives to me,
     His jointure in the knotty Trinity
     He keeps, and gives to me his death's conquest.
     This Lamb, whose death with life the world hath blest,
     Was from the world's beginning slain, and he
     Hath made two Wills which with the Legacy
     Of his and thy kingdom do thy Sons invest.
     Yet such are thy laws that men argue yet
     Whether a man those statutes can fulfil;
     None doth; but all-healing grace and spirit
     Revive again what law and letter kill.
     Thy law's abridgement, and thy last command
     Is all but love; Oh let this last Will stand!
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 17
     by John Donne

	Since she whom I lov'd hath paid her last debt
	To nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,
	And her soul early into heaven ravished,
	Wholly in heavenly things my mind is set.
	Here the admiring her my mind did whet
	To seek thee, God; so streams do show the head;
	But though I have found thee, and thou my thirst hast fed,
	A holy thirsty dropsy melts me yet.
	But why should I beg more love, whenas thou
	Dost woo my soul, for hers off'ring all thine,
	And dost not only fear lest I allow
	My love to saints and angels, things divine,
	But in thy tender jealousy dost doubt
	Lest the world, flesh, yea devil put thee out.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 18
     by John Donne

	Show me dear Christ, thy spouse so bright and clear.
	What! is it she which on the other shore
	Goes richly painted? or which, robb'd and tore,
	Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
	Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
	Is she self-truth, and errs? now new, now outwore?
	Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
	On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
	Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
	First travel we to seek, and then make love?
	Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
	And let mine amorous soul court thy mild Dove,
	Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
	When she'is embrac'd and open to most men.
Back to Top

Return to Main Page

Holy Sonnet 19
     by John Donne

     Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one:
     Inconstancy unnaturally hath begot
     A constant habit; that when I would not
     I change in vows, and in devotion.
     As humorous is my contrition
     As my profane love, and as soon forgot:
     As riddlingly distempered, cold and hot,
     As praying, as mute; as infinite, as none.
     I durst not view heaven yesterday; and today
     In prayers and flattering speeches I court God:
     Tomorrow I quake with true fear of his rod.
     So my devout fits come and go away
     Like a fantastic ague; save that here
     Those are my best days, when I shake with feare.
Back to Top

"I Love You Lord"

Return to Main Page
Return to Poetry Index