Poems Not in the Edition of 1633




To The Lady Magdalen Herbert,
With the Poem following.


Your favours to me are everywhere; I use them, and have them. I enjoy them at London, and leave them there; and yet find them at Mitcham. Such riddles as these become things inexpressible; and such is your goodness. I was almost sorry to find your servant here this day, because I was loth to have any witness of my not coming home last night, and indeed of my coming this morning; but my not coming was excusable, because earnest business detained mc; and my coming this day is by the example of your St. Mary Magdalen, who rose early upon Sunday, to seek that which she loved most; and so did I. And, from her and myself, I return such thanks as are due to one to whom we owe all the good opinion, that they whom we need must have of us. By this messenger, and on this good day, I commit the enclosed holy hymns and sonnets (which for the matter, not the workmanship, have yet escaped the fire) to your judgment, and to your protection too, if you think them worthy of it; and I have appointed this enclosed sonnet to usher them to your happy hand. Your unworthiest servant,

unless your accepting him to be so,

have mended him,

Mitcham, July 11, 1007. John Donne.

To The Lady Magdalen Herbert; Of St. Mary Magdalen.

Her of your name, whose fair inheritance

Bethina was, and jointure Magdalo;
An active faith so highly did advance,

That she once knew more than the church did know,
The resurrection; so much good there is

Delivered of her, that some fathers be
Loth to believe one woman could do this;

But think these Magdalens were two or three.
Increase their number, lady, and their fame;

To their devotion, add your innocence;
Take so much of th' example as of the name;

The latter half; and in some recompence
That they did harbour Christ himself a guest,
Harbour these hymns, to his dear name addrest.

John Donne.

On The Blessed Virgin Mary.

In that, O Queen of Queens! thy birth was free
From that which others doth of grace bereave,
When in their mother's womb they life receive,

God, as his sole-born daughter, loved thee.

To match thee like thy birth's nobility,
He thee his spirit for thy spouse did leave,
By whom thou did'st his only Son conceive,

And so wast link'd to all the Trinity.

Cease then, O Queens! that earthly crowns do wear, To glory in the pomp of earthly things:

If men such high respects unto you bear,

Which daughters, wives, and mothers, are of kings,

What honour can unto that queen be done

Who had your God for father, spouse, and son?

Elegy On Mrs. Boulstred.

Death! be not proud: thy hand gave not this blow;

Sin was her captive, whence thy power doth flow:

The executioner of wrath thou art,

But to destroy the just is not thy part.

Thy coming terror, anguish, grief, denounces;

Her happy state, courage, ease, joy, pronounces.

From out the crystal palace of her breast,

The clearer soul was called to endless rest:

(Not by the thundering voice wherewith God threats,

But as with crowned saints in heaven he treats)

And, waited on by angels, home was brought,

To joy that it through many dangers sought;

The key of mercy gently did unlock

The door 'twixt heaven and it, when life did knock.

Nor boast the fairest frame was made thy prey,

Because to mortal eyes it did decay:

A better witness than thou art, assures

That, though dissolved, it yet a space endures.

No dram thereof shall want, or loss sustain,

When her best soul inhabits it again.

Go then to people curst before they were,

Their souls in triumph to thy conquest bear.

Glory not thou thyself in these hot tears,

Which our face not for her, but our harm, wears.

The mourning livery given by grace, not thee,

Which wills our souls in these streams washt should be;

And on our hearts, her memory's best tomb,

In this her epitaph doth write thy doom.

Blind were those eyes saw not how bright did shine,

Through flesh's misty veil, those beams divine:

Deaf were the ears not charmed with that sweet sound

Which did V th' spirit's instructed voice abound;

Of flint the conscience, did not yield and melt

At what in her last act it saw and felt.

Weep not, nor grudge, then, to have lost her sight,

Taught thus our after-stay's but a short night;

But by all souls not by corruption chok'd,

Let in high-rais'd notes that pow'r be invok'd;

Calm the rough seas by which she sails to rest,

From sorrows here t' a kingdom ever blest;

And teach this hymn of her with joy, and sing,

"The grave no conquests gets, death hath no sting."

On Himself.

Mt fortune and my choice this custom break,

When wo are speechless grown to make stones speak;

Though no stone tell thee what I was, yet thou

In my grave's inside see'st what thou art now:

Yet thou'rt not yet so good; till death us lay

To ripe and mellow, here we're stubborn clay.

Parents make us earth, and souls dignify

Us to be glass; here to grow gold we lie.

Whilst in our souls sin bred and pamper'd is,

Our souls become worm-eaten carcases;

So we ourselves miraculously destroy;

Here bodies with less miracle enjoy

Such privileges, enabled here to scale

Heav'n, when the trumpet's air shall them exhale.

Hear this, and mend thyself, and thou mend'st me,

By making me, being dead, do good for thee:

And think me well composed, that I could now

A last sick hour to syllables allow.



That I might make your cabinet my tomb,

And for my fame, which I love next my soul,

Next to my soul provide the happiest room,

Admit to that place this last funeral scroll.

Others by wills give legacies, but I,

Dying, of you do beg a legacy.

My fortune and my will this custom break,

When we are senseless grown, to make stones speak;

Though no stone tell thee what I was, yet thou

In my grave's inside see what thou art now.

Yet thou'rt not yet so good; till us death lay

To ripe and mellow there, we're stubborn clay.

Parents make us earth, and souls dignify

Us to be glass; here to grow gold we lie.

Whilst in our souls sin bred and pamper'd is,

Our souls become worm-eaten carcases.


Vengeance will sit above our faults; but till
She there do sit

We see her not, nor them. Thus blind, yet still
We lead her way; and thus, whilst we do ill,
We suffer it.

Unhappy he whom youth makes not beware
Of doing ill:

Enough we labour under age and care:
In number the errors of the last place are
The greatest still.

Yet we, that should the ill we now begin
As soon repent,

(Strange thing !) perceive not; our faults are not seen,
But past us; neither felt, but only in
The punishment.

But we know ourselves least; mere outward shows
Our minds so store,

That our souls, no more than our eyes, disclose
But form and colour: only he who knows
Himself, knows more.

Vol. vi. 2 o

Upon The Translation Of The Psalms, By Sir Philip Sidney And The Countess or Pembroke.

Eternal God! (for whom whoever dare

Seek new expressions, do the circle square,

And thrust into strait corners of poor wit

Thee, who art cornerless and infinite)

I would but bless thy name, not name thee now;

(And thy gifts are as infinite as thou:)

Fix we our praises therefore on this one,

That as thy blessed spirit fell upon

These Psalms' first author in a cloven tongue,

(For 'twas a double power by which he sung,

The highest matter in the noblest form)

So thou hast cleft that spirit, to perform

That work again, and shed it here upon

Two, by their bloods and by thy spirit one;

A brother and a sister, made by thee

The organ, where thou art the harmony;

Two that made one John Baptist's holy voice;

And who that Psalm, "now let the isles rejoice,"

Have both translated, and applied it too;

Both told us what, and taught us how to do.

They show us islanders our joy, our king;

They tell us why, and teach us how to sing.

Make all this all, three choirs, heaven, earth, and spheres

The first, heaven, hath a song, but no man hears:

The spheres have music, but they have no tongue,

Their harmony is rather danced than sung;

But one third choir, to which the first gives ear,

(For angels learn by what the church does hear)

This choir hath all. The organist is ho

Who hath tuned God and man, the organ we:

The songs are these, which Heaven's high holy muse

Whispered to David, David to the Jews,

And David's successors in holy zeal,

In forms of joy and art, do re-revcal

To us so sweetly and sincerely too,

That I must not rejoice as I would do,

When I behold that these Psalms are become

So well attired abroad, so ill at home;

So well in chambers, in thy church so ill,

As I can scarce call that reformed until

This be reformed. Would a wholo state present

A lesser gift than some one man hath sent?

And shall our church unto our spouse and king

More hoarse, more harsh, than any other, sing?

For that we pray, we praise thy name for this,

Which by this Moses, and this Miriam is

Already done; and, as those Psalms we call

(Though some have other authors) David's all;

So though some have, some may some psalms translate,

We thy Sydnean psalms shall celebrate;

And till we come th' extemporal song to sing,

(Learned the first hour that we see the king,

Who hath translated those translators,) may

These, their sweet learned labours, all the way

Be as our tuning, that when hence we part,

We may fall in with them and sing our part.

To Ben Jonson,
Jan. 6, 1603.

The state and men's affairs are the best plays

Next yours: 'tis not more nor less than due praise.

Write, but touch not the much-descending race

Of lords' houses, so settled in worth's place,

As but themselves none think them usurpers;

It is no fault in thee to suffer theirs.

If the queen masque, or king a hunting go,

Though all the court follow, let them. We know

Like them in goodness that court ne'er will be,

For that were virtue, and not flattery.

Forget we were thrust out. It is but thus

God threatens kings, kings lords, as lords do us.

Judge of strangers, trust and believe your friend,

And so me; and when I true friendship end,

With guilty conscience let me be worse stung

Than with Popham's sentence thieves, or Cook's tongue

Traitors are. Friends are ourselves. This I thee tell

As to my friend, and myself as counsel.

Let for a while the time's unthrifty rout

Contemn learning, and all your studies flout:

Let them scorn hell, they will a serjeant fear

More than we them, that ere long God may forbear,

Bat creditors will not. Let them increase

In riot and excess, as their means cease:

Let them scorn him that made them, and still shun

His grace, but love the whore who hath undone

Them and their souls. But that they that allow

But one God, should have religious enow,

For the queen's masque, and thoir husbands for more

Than all the Gentiles knew or Atlas bore.

Well, let all pass, and trust him who not cracks

The bruised seed, nor quencheth smoking flax.

To Mr. Toman,

After He Had Taken Orders.

Thou, whose diviner soul hath caused thee now
To put thy hand unto the holy plough,
Making lay-scornings of the ministry
Not an impediment, but victory;

What bring'st thou home with thee? how is thy mind

Affected since the vintage? dost thou find

New thoughts and strings within thee? and, as steel

Touch'd with a loadstone, dost new motions feel?

Or as a ship, after much pain and care,

For iron and cloth, brings home rich Indian ware?

Hast thou thus traffick'd, but with far more gain

Of noble goods, and with less time and pain?

Thou art the same materials as before,

Only the stamp is changed, but no more.

And as new-crowned kings alter the face,

But not the money's substance, so hath grace

Chang'd only God's old image by creation

To Christ's new stamp, at this thy coronation;

Or as we paint angels with wings, because

They bear God's message, and proclaim his laws:

Since thou must do the like, and so must move,

Art thou new-feather'd with celestial love

Dear! tell me where thy purchase lies, and show

What thy advantage is above below:

But if thy gainings do surmount expression,

Why doth the foolish world scorn that profession

Whose joys pass speech? Why do they think unfit

That gentry should join families with it?

As if their day were only to be spent

In dressing, mistressing, and compliment.

Alas! poor joys, but poorer men, whose trust

Seems richly placed in sublimed dust!

(For such are clothes and beauty, which, though gay,

Are at the best but of sublimed clay.)

Let then the word thy calling disrespect,

But go thou on, and pity their neglect.

What function is so noble as to be

Embassador to God and destiny?

To open life, to give kingdoms to more

Than kings give dignities; to keep heaven's door?

Mary's prerogative was to bear Christ; so

'Tis preachers' to convey him, for they do

As angels out of clouds, from pulpits speak,

And bless the poor beneath, the lame, the weak;

If then th' astronomers, whereas they spy

A new-found star, their optics magnify,

How brave are those who with their engine can

Bring man to heav'n, and heav'n again to man?

These are thy titles and pre-eminences,

In whom must meet God's graces, men's offences;

And so the heav'ns which beget all things here,

And th' earth, our mother, which these things doth bear,

Both these in thee are in thy calling knit,

And make thee now a blest hermaphrodite.

To Mr. George Herbert.

Sent Him With One or My Seals Of The Anchor And Christ.

Qui prius assuetus serpentum fasce tabellas
Signare (haec nostne symbola parva domus)
Adscitus domui Domini, patrioque relicto
Stemmate, nanciscor stemmata jure nova.
Hinc mihi crux, primo quae fronti impressa lavacro,
Finibus extensis, anchora facta patct.

Anchora in effigem crux tandem desinit ips»m.
Anchora fit tandem crux tolerata diu.

Hoc tamen ut fiat, Christo vegetatur ab ipso

Crux, et ab affixo est anchora facta Jesu.

Nec natalitiis penitus serpentibus orbor;

Non ita dat Deus, ut auferat ante data.

Qua sapiens, dos est; qua terrain lambit et ambit,

Pestis; at in nostra fit medicina cruce

Serpens; fixa cruci si sit natura; crucique

A fixo nobis gratia tota fluat.

Omnia cum crux sint, crux anchora fixa, sigillum

Nontam dicendum hoc, quam catechismus erit.

Mitto, nec exigua, exigua sub imagine, dona,

Pignora amicitiae, et munera, vota, preces.

Plura tibi accumulet sanctus cognominis ille,

Rcgia qui flavo dona sigillat equo.

A Sheaf Of Snakes Used Heretofore To My Seal, The Chest Of Our Poor Family.

Adopted in God's family, and so

Our old coat lost, unto new arms I go.

The cross (my seal at baptism) spread below,

Does by that form into an anchor grow.

Crosses grow anchors: bear as thou shouldst do,

Thy cross, and that cross grows an anchor too.

But he that makes our crosses anchors thus

Is Christ, who there is crucified for us.

Yet may I, with this, my first serpents hold;

God gives new blessings, and yet leaves the old.

The serpent may, as wise, my pattern be;

My poison, as he feeds on dust, that's me:

And as ho rounds the earth to murder sure,

My death he is, but on the cross my cure.

Crucify nature then, and then implore

All grace from him crucified there before.

When all is cross, and that cross anchor grown,

This seal is a catechism, not a seal alone.

Under that little seal great gifts I send,

Works, and prayers, pawns and fruits of a friend,

And may that saint which rides in our great seal

To you who bear his name great bounties deal.

In Sacram Anciioram Piscatoris, G. Herbert.

Quod crux nequibat fixa, clavique additi,
(Tenere Christum scilicet, ne asceuderet)
Tuive Christum devocans facundia,
Ultra loquendi tempus: addit anchora:
Nec hoc abunde est tibi, nisi certte anchors
Addas sigillum; nempe symbolum suse
Tibi debet unde et terra certitudinis.

Quondam fessus Amor loquens amato,
Tot et tanta loquens amica, scripsit:
Tandem et fessa manna dedit sigillum.

Suavis erat, qui scripta dolens lacerando rccludi,
Sanctius in regno magni credebat amoris
(In quo fas nihil est rumpi) donare sigillum!
Munde, fluas fugiasque licet, nos nostraque fixi.

Although the cross could not Christ here detain,
Though nailed unto it, but he ascends again,
Nor yet thy eloquence here keep him still,
But only while thou speakst; this anchor will:
Nor canst thou be content, unless thou to
This certain anchor add a seal; and so
The water and the earth, both unto thee
Do owe the symbol of their certainty.

When love, being weary, made an end

Of kind expressions to his friend,

He writ; when his hand could write no more

He gave the seal, and so left o'er.

How sweet a friend was he who, being grieved His letters were broke rudely up, believed Twas more secure in great love's common weal (Where nothing should be broke) to add a seal!

Let the world reel, we and all ours stand sure; This holy cable is of all storms secure.

Translated Out Op Gazjjcs.

Vota Amico facto, fol. 160.

God grant thee thine own wish, and grant thee mine,
Thou who dost, best friend, in best things outshine:
May thy soul, ever cheerful, ne'er know cares;
Nor thy life, ever lively, know gray hairs;
Nor thy hand, ever open, know base holds;
Nor thy purse, ever plump, know plaits or folds;
Nor thy tongue, ever true, know a false thing;
Nor thy words, ever mild, know quarrelling;
Nor thy works, ever equal, know disguise;
Nor thy fame, ever pure, know contumelies;
Nor thy prayers know low objects, still divine
God grant thee thine own wish, and grant thee mine.

Hymn To God, My God, In My Sickness.

Since I am coming to that holy room

Where with the 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 mass, 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 Japheth dwelt, or Cham, or Sem.

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 wrapped receive me, Lord!

By these his thorns give me his holy crown; And as to others' souls I preached thy Word,

Be this my text, my sermon to mine own; Therefore, that he may raise, the Lord throws down.




California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice