John Donne: "The Annuntiation and Pafsion"
Good Friday 2005
The Annuntiation and Pafsion
Tamely, fraile body'abftaine to day; to day
My foule eates twice, Chrift hither and away.
She fees him man, fo like God made in this,
That of them both a circle embleme is,
Whofe firft and laft concurre; this doubtfull day
Of feaft or faft, Chrift came, and went away.
Shee fees him nothing twice at once, who'is all;
Shee fees a Cedar plant it felfe, and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead;
She fees at once the virgin mother ftay
Recluf'd at home, Publique at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoyc'd fhee's feen at once, and feen
At almoft fiftie, and at fcarce fifteene.
At once a Sonne is promif'd her, and gone,
Gabriell gives Chrift to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, Shee's in Orbitie,
At once receiver and the legacie.
All this, and all betweene, this day hath fhowne,
Th'Abridgement of Chrifts ftory, which makes one
(As in plaine Maps, the furtheft Weft is Eaft)
Of the'Angels Ave,'and Consummatum eft.
How well the Church, Gods Court of faculties
Deales, in fome times, and feldome joyning thefe!
As by the felfe-fix'd Pole wee never doe
Direct our courfe, but the next ftarre thereto,
Which fhowes where the'other is, and which we fay
(Because it ftrayes not farre) doth never ftray;
So God by his Church, neereft to him, wee know,
And ftand firme, if wee by her motion goe;
His Spirit, as his fiery Pillar doth
Leade, and his Church, as cloud; to one end both:
This Church, by letting thofe daies joyne, hath fhown
Death and conception in mankinde is one.
Or 'twas in him the fame humility,
That he would be a man, and leave to be:
Or as creation he hath made, as God,
With the laft judgement, but one period,
His imitating Spoufe would joyne in one
Manhoods extremes: He fhall come, he is gone:
Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,
Accepted, would have ferv'd, he yet fhed all;
So though the leaft of his paines, deeds, or words,
Would bufie a life, fhe all this day affords;
This treafure then, in groffe, my Soule uplay,
And in my life retaile it every day.
(Source: Donne, John, 1572-1631. Poems, by J.D. With Elegies on the authors death. London : Printed by M.F. For Iohn Marriot ..., 1633, first page, second page.)
This poem was written for Friday, March 25, 1608. A modernized version is here.
See also Rachel Annand Taylor: "The Question" and Friday, April 18, 2003.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Fri. 03/25/05 07:44:02 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Religious.