Saturday, March 26, 2005

Some Lines from John Donne

John Donne indulged in a riot of paradoxes on March 25, 1608, a day that, like yesterday, was both the Feast of the Annunciation and Good Friday ("Christ hither and away"). The "she" of the poem is "my soul," and Donne plays back and forth on the double vision caused by the rare concurrence of feast and fast:

TAMELY, frail body, abstain to-day ; to-day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur ; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away ;
She sees Him nothing, twice at once, who's all ;
She sees a cedar plant itself, and fall ;
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life at once not yet alive, yet dead ;
She sees at once the Virgin Mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha ;
Sad and rejoiced she's seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen . . .

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks to Charlie Brumbaugh for the heads-up.

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