John Donne

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

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Published: Dec 25, 2012
John Donne
John Donne (1573–1631) was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially compared to that of his contemporaries.
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1 reply to this post
  1. Beautiful.

    John Donne receives scintillating treatment in Margaret Edson's fine play "Wit," which director Mike Nichols adapted for the small screen in an HBO production. He and actress Emma Thompson wrote the teleplay. Anyone who thinks that "modern literature" is an oxymoron–an understandable mindset–should read the play or watch the film (or see the play if it's in the area). Edson skillfully incorporates three of Donne's Holy Sonnets to help tell the story of Vivian Bearing, a professor of seventeenth-century English literature who specializes in metaphysical poetry, particularly Donne's work. As she faces certain death from stage-four ovarian cancer, Professor Bearing relies in part on Donne's profound but cunning poetry to answer a fundamental question: Of what worth has been her life, and to whom? "Death Be Not Proud," of course, takes center stage through most of the play, but the sonnet's presence is not presumptuous. The beauty of the play lies in its strength as an original work despite the inspiration it draws from a canonical author. In less skillful hands, Donne would have capsized the little vessel of modern theater. At the risk of trivializing the metaphor, Edson's command is courageous.

    I promise my readers that I have no stake in this play other than that of and English teacher who is hard-pressed to find quality modern literature and is happy to add Edson to the syllabus.

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