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Logos [01-01-10]

Anno Domini 2010
Felix Novus Annus!

“Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side,
Bufft, and scoff, scourge, and curcify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he,
Who could do no iniquity, hat died:
But by my death cannot be satisfied
MY sin,s which pass the Jews’ impiety:
They killed once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
Oh let me then, his strong 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, so that
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.”
-John Donne, “Holy Sonnet XI”

” When my grave is broke up again
Some second guest to entertain,
(For graves have learned that woman-head
To be more than one a bed)
And he that dies it, spies
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone,
Will he not let us alone,
And think that there a loving couple lies,
Who thought that this device might be some way
To make their souls, at the last busy day,
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?

If this fall in a time, or land,
Where mis-devotion doth command,
Then, he that digs us up, will bring
Us, to the Bishop, and the King,
To make us relics; then
Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I
A something else thereby;
All women shall adore us, and some men;
And such at such time, miracles are sought,
I would have that age by this paper taught
What miracles we harmless lovers wrought.

First, we loved well and faithfully,
Yet knew not what we loved, nor why,
Difference of sex no more we knew,
Than our guardian angels do;
Coming and going, we
Perchance might kiss, but not between those meals;
Our hands ne’er touched the seals,
Which nature, injured by late law, sets free:
These miracles we did; but now alas,
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.”
-John Donne, “The Relic”

Donne was a poet of subtle thought, though not always of appreciable sentiment.  Many of his poems are explicitly sensual; but many are also explicitly spiritual, and all are rife with symbolism.  Consideration of his poems beyond the literal meaning is always worth the time.

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