Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631) was an English poet and a churchman famous for his spellbinding sermons. Here are some of my favorite John Donne quotes and poems.
Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life: I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.

John Donne: Sermons.

The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr . . . His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas-day and his Good Friday are but the evening and morning of the one and the same day.

John Donne: Sermon of Christmas-Day, 1626.

The Father was pleased to breathe into his body [of man] in the creation; the Son was pleased to assume this body in the redemption; the Holy Ghost is pleased to consecrate this body by his sanctification. The consultation of the whole Trinity is exercised upon the dignifying of man's body.

John Donne: Sermons.

Meditation XVII (No Man Is An Island)

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

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