Holy Sonnet XI–A Point for Donne

There’s a battle going on for the position of my favorite poet. RIght now, the list looks like this

1 John Donne or John Keats

2. (whoever loses in category 1)

3. Emily Dickinson

I just can’t decide who I like better! Donne has the “best metaphysical poet” award and Keats gained the “best imagery and best secular subject matter” award. Maybe I shouldn’t try and compare them because they’re so different and give them each the “Charity’s favorite poet” award (not that they would care). AH!

Donne definitely gained some points today with his Holy Sonnet XI. Read it for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree. Hopefully this battle will end someday, but for now I’m having fun pitting them against each other and watching the battle


Spit in my face, you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinn’d, and sinne’, and only He,
Who could do no iniquity, hath died.
But by my death can not be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews’ impiety.
They kill’d once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
O let me then His strange love still admire ;
Kings pardon, but He bore our punishment ;
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire,
But to supplant, and with gainful intent ;
God clothed Himself in vile man’s flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.


A Litany for Refreshment

I am currently enrolled in a class entitled Readings in Renaissance Literature and even though I have barely begun the reading, I can tell this course will ignite my soul in love for my Savior and also in love of the devotional literature of the Renaissance. I read today the Litany at the beginning of Bishop Andrew’s “Daily Prayers–Preperation and the First Day” and boy was it refreshing. It is a corporate, scriptural plea for holiness in the journey of the Christian life.

Oh, and just because I had to look it up, vouchsafe is defined thusly: “Give or grant (something) to (someone) in a gracious or condescending manner: ‘it is a blessing vouchsafed him by heaven.'” Thought you’d appriciate that tidbit. Enjoy!


GLORY be to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.
Glory to Thee who givest me sleep
to recruit my weakness,
and to remit the toils
of this fretful flesh.
To this day and all days,
a perfect, holy, peaceful, healthy,
sinless course,

Vouchsafe O Lord.

The Angel of peace, a faithful guide,
guardian of souls and bodies,
to encamp around me,
and ever to prompt what is salutary,

Vouchsafe O Lord.

Pardon and remission
of all sins and of all offences

Vouchsafe O Lord.


To our souls what is good and convenient,
and peace to the world,

Vouchsafe O Lord.

Repentance and strictness
for the residue of our life,
and health and peace to the end,

Vouchsafe O Lord.

Whatever is true, whatever is honest,
whatever just, whatever pure,
whatever lovely, whatever of good report,
if there be any virtue, if any praise,
such thoughts, such deeds,

Vouchsafe O Lord.

A Christian close,
without sin, without shame,
and, should it please Thee,
without pain,
and a good answer
at the dreadful and fearful
of Jesus Christ our Lord,.

Vouchsafe O Lord.



Poem of the Week–John Donne

During the time when Jacob and I are apart, this poem has been a solace for us. I love the extended metaphor of a compass with its linked arms and ever-reaching circle of eternity.

The picture above was taken by our wonderful photographer (who is also one of my English professors). This symbol of Jacob and my love along with some of our favorite lines from this amazing work just melts me every time. I love that picture.

by John Donne AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”So let us melt, and make no noise,                                       5
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;                              10
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove                                     15
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.                           20

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so                                          25
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,                                30
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,                                    35
And makes me end where I begun.

Poem of the Week

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is my third favorite poet. She falls in line after Keats and Donne. Because she never named her poems, but numbered them, most of her poetry is called by the first line. What I love about this poem is the imagery given of the bird. Something so small and fragile can sustain us throughout the “gale” and “storm.” There is no need to feed Hope for it is intrinsic in human nature. Enjoy!


Inspiration by Keats

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.