Poetry

John Donne – Holy Sonnets – Complete Text

Yesterday (January 22) was the birthday of poet John Donne (d. 1631).

For the church, one of the most significant works by John Donne is his brief collection of 19 holy sonnets . One of these sonnets was featured in our our lectionary poems for this week.  We’re delighted to share the complete text of this poetry collection here. 
 

[ DOWNLOAD – Complete Holy Sonnets ]
( PDF )

 
 

John Donne Holy Sonnets XIX

 
 
XIX

OH, to vex me, contraryes meet in one:
Inconstancy unnaturally hath begott
A constant habit; that when I would not
I change in vowes, and in devotions.
As humorous is my contritione
As my prophane Love, and as soone forgott:
As ridlingly distemper’d, cold and hott,
As praying, as mute; as infinite, as none.
I durst not view heaven yesterday; and to day
In prayers, and flattering speaches I court God:
To morrow I quake with true feare of his rod.
So my devout fitts come and go away
Like a fantastique Ague: save that here
Those are my best dayes, when I shake with feare.
 
 

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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