A Hymn to God The Father – John Donne – Comments

A Hymn to God The Father.

Wilt thou forgive that sinn, which I begunn,
Which is my sinn, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I runn
And doe run still, though still I doe deplore?
When thou has done, thou hast not done,
For, I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sinn, by which I’have wonne
Others to sinn, and made my sinn their dore?
Wilt thou forgive that sinn which I did shunne
A year or twoe, but wallowed in a score?
When thou has done, thou hast not done,
For, I have more.

I have a sinn of feare that when I have spun
My last thred, I shall perish on the shore;
Sweare by thy self that at my Death, thy Sonne
Shall shine as he shines nowe, & heretofore;
And having done that, thou hast done,
I feare noe more.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)

Sin = in the traditional religious context the transgression against God, (perhaps all about not being ‘good’ and failing within oneself and in our relationships with others)

The first stanza is all about sin and the fact that sin pervades all of humanity and John Donne asks for forgiveness from God for his sin and the sin of humanity which cannot be avoided and of which he is part.

The second stanza then asks for forgiveness where John Donne has led others to sin. He refers to many years when he was young and outside Church life – wallowed in a score. But God does not have Donne yet for there is more, play on his surname.

In the last stanza he mentions a fear that he has at his Death. However, if Jesus still shines forgiveness as he has done in life then John Donne fears no more. If that is done then God has Donne, again a play on his name.

This poem is all about forgiving oneself as well as accepting forgiveness from God. Some find this very hard to do when something they have done is deeply regretted.

John Donne on Wikipedia

 

The Sunne Rising – John Donne

The Sunne Rising

Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

She’s all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus.
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)

Three ten line stanza with rhyming scheme ‘abbacdcdee’. The sun personified she is indeed quiet ‘unruly’ highly emotional in her flaring and of course very old and busy. I do like that word ‘wink’ in the second stanza our lifespan so infinitesimal in comparison.

Well the Solar System does sort of control life or the way life is lived. We do have to operate on a time and season basis. But love is beyond such bounds quite independent and outside such realms of the artificial breakup so eloquently defined as ‘the rags of time’. Love is a timeless entity.

Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clim
Hours, days, months, which are the rags of time

The eyes of the sun are blind compared to the personal eyes of love which retains history. Not like the inanimate sun who knows nothing of yesterday.

If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, …

The world is so much more. The the sun creates life, and bountiful meaning to life. And the sun has a duty to give warmth and life to humanity. It is the centre of everything.

Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

From memory on the nature of the sun millions of sub-atomic particles actually pass through our thumb nail every second!

And from a spiritual Christian perspective there is a lot of similarity between sun and son; and John Donne being the master of the metaphysical.

A Jet Ring Sent – John Donne – Analysis

A Jet Ring Sent

THOU art not so black as my heart,
Nor half so brittle as her heart, thou art ;
What would’st thou say ? shall both our properties by thee be spoke,
—Nothing more endless, nothing sooner broke?

Marriage rings are not of this stuff ;
Oh, why should ought less precious, or less tough
Figure our loves ? except in thy name thou have bid it say,
“—I’m cheap, and nought but fashion ; fling me away.”

Yet stay with me since thou art come,
sBe justly proud, and gladly safe, that thou dost dwell with me ;
She that, O ! broke her faith, would soon break thee.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)

John Donne survived the crackdown on the Catholic Church under Elizabeth I to eventually become an Anglican priest and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

To really understand the wording you need knowledge of ‘Jet’ as a gemstone …

Jet is a black gemstone (the eponymous ‘jet black’), but not strictly a mineral: like coal, it originates in decaying wood fossilized under extreme pressure. It is relatively soft, warmer to the touch than regular rock, light, and easy to carve – though not in fine detail because it is very brittle.

S1 … Did John Donne send a ‘Jet Ring’ to a lover and was it the start of a deeper marriage proposal. We do not know. But the ring has been returned by the lady and the poet (perhaps JD) is now in reflected thought and asks the ring to speak. The ring possesses both properties of the two in question. Black – JD’s heart is blacker, and brittle – that of the lady in breaking the relationship. The ring is endless (JD’s love) – and because it is ‘jet’ easily broke and it was easy for the lady to be dismissive of his love and break him.

S2 … The lady is talking saying that JD has represented her as cheap and nought but fashion (as the ring) and Jette is French for throw and a pun is in evidence. So it is to be done as the ring suggests – for marriage is not made of this stuff – so it is sent back. In his earlier days JD was a womaniser and initial sending  of the ring may have been superficial – we do not know.

S3 … JD wants to keep the returned ring and he circles the ring with his thumb in the same way the lady must have held it – and the ring dwells proud and safe with JD in the same way his love dwells likewise. The ring will always be a reminder of that fact. It will not be broken though of brittle material for he will keep it safe.

This is a link to another WordPress site which gives an excellent analysis of this poem … https://yuliaryzhik.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/john-donne-a-jet-ring-sent/

And details of the life of John Donne on Wikipedia …
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donne

The good thing was, of course, that Donne was not undone by this turn down – so to the lady perhaps.