Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness

John Donne - 1572-1631
Since I am coming to that Holy room, 
    Where, with Thy choir of saints for evermore, 
I shall be made Thy music; as I come 
    I tune the instrument here at the door, 
    And what I must do then, think here before; 

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown 
    Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie 
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown 
    That this is my south-west discovery, 
    Per fretum febris, by these straits to die; 

I joy, that in these straits I see my west; 
    For, though those currents yield return to none, 
What shall my west hurt me?  As west and east 
    In all flat maps—and I am one—are one, 
    So death doth touch the resurrection. 

Is the Pacific sea my home?  Or are 
    The eastern riches?  Is Jerusalem? 
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar? 
    All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them 
    Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem. 

We think that Paradise and Calvary, 
    Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place; 
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; 
    As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face, 
    May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace. 

So, in His purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord; 
    By these His thorns, give me His other crown; 
And as to others' souls I preach'd Thy word, 
    Be this my text, my sermon to mine own, 
    "Therefore that He may raise, the Lord throws down."

More by John Donne

The Baite

Come live with mee, and bee my love,
And wee will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and christall brookes,
With silken lines, and silver hookes.

There will the river whispering runne
Warm'd by thy eyes, more than the Sunne.
And there the'inamor'd fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swimme in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channell hath,
Will amorously to thee swimme,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seene, beest loath,
By Sunne, or Moone, thou darknest both,
And if my selfe have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legges, with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poore fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowie net:

Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
Or curious traitors, sleavesilke flies
Bewitch poore fishes wandring eyes.

For thee, thou needst no such deceit,
For thou thy selfe art thine owne bait;
That fish, that is not catch'd thereby,
Alas, is wiser farre than I.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
   "The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
   Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
   Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
   Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined
   That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
   Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
   Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
   As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the other do;

And though it in the center sit,
   Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
   And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
   Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
   And makes me end where I begun.

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are 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 but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
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.