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John Donne (1572–1631)

Holy Sonnet XV

Wilt thou love God, as he thee? then digest,

My Soule, this wholsome meditation,

How God the Spirit, by Angels waited on

In heaven, doth make his Temple in thy brest.

The Father having begot a Sonne most blest,

And still begetting, (for he ne'r begonne)

Hath deign'd to chuse thee by adoption,

Coheire to his glory, and Sabbaths endlesse rest;

And as a robb'd man, which by search doth finde

His stolne stuffe sold, must lose or buy it againe;

The Sonne of glory came downe, and was slaine,

Us whom he had made, and Satan stolne, to unbinde.

'Twas much, that man was made like God before,

But, that God should be made like man, much more.

John Donne (1572-1631) was born into a prominent Catholic family but converted to the Church of England in his twenties.  At the age of eleven he entered Oxford University for a period of three years, and then Cambridge, but he never took a degree.  In 1615 he became an Anglican priest, and in 1621 the dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  Donne’s poetry, prose and sermons were famous for their eloquence, subtly, psychological analysis and brilliance, especially as they described the complex paradoxes of the human condition.

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