John Donne

Here you will find the Long Poem A Litany of poet John Donne

A Litany



FATHER of Heaven, and Him, by whom 
It, and us for it, and all else for us, 
Thou madest, and govern'st ever, come 
And re-create me, now grown ruinous: 
My heart is by dejection, clay, 
And by self-murder, red. 
From this red earth, O Father, purge away 
All vicious tinctures, that new-fashioned 
I may rise up from death, before I'm dead. 


O Son of God, who, seeing two things, 
Sin and Death, crept in, which were never made, 
By bearing one, tried'st with what stings 
The other could Thine heritage invade ; 
O be Thou nail'd unto my heart, 
And crucified again ; 
Part not from it, though it from Thee would part, 
But let it be by applying so Thy pain, 
Drown'd in Thy blood, and in Thy passion slain. 



O Holy Ghost, whose temple I 
Am, but of mud walls , and condensèd dust, 
And being sacrilegiously 
Half wasted with youth's fires of pride and lust, 
Must with new storms be weather-beat, 
Double in my heart Thy flame, 
Which let devout sad tears intend, and let? 
Though this glass lanthorn, flesh, do suffer maim? 
Fire, sacrifice, priest, altar be the same. 



O blessed glorious Trinity, 
Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith, 
Which, as wise serpents, diversely 
Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath, 
As you distinguish'd, undistinct, 
By power, love, knowledge be, 
Give me a such self different instinct, 
Of these let all me elemented be, 
Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three. 



For that fair blessed mother-maid, 
Whose flesh redeem'd us, that she-cherubin, 
Which unlock'd paradise, and made 
One claim for innocence, and disseizèd sin, 
Whose womb was a strange heaven, for there 
God clothed Himself, and grew, 
Our zealous thanks we pour. As her deeds were 
Our helps, so are her prayers ; nor can she sue 
In vain, who hath such titles unto you. 



And since this life our nonage is, 
And we in wardship to Thine angels be, 
Native in heaven's fair palaces 
Where we shall be but denizen'd by Thee ; 
As th' earth conceiving by the sun, 
Yields fair diversity, 
Yet never knows what course that light doth run ; 
So let me study that mine actions be 
Worthy their sight, though blind in how they see. 



And let Thy patriarchs' desire, 
?Those great grandfathers of Thy Church, which saw 
More in the cloud than we in fire, 
Whom nature clear'd more, than us grace and law, 
And now in heaven still pray, that we 
May use our new helps right? 
Be satisfied, and fructify in me ; 
Let not my mind be blinder by more light, 
Nor faith by reason added lose her sight. 



Thy eagle-sighted prophets too, 
?Which were Thy Church's organs, and did sound 
That harmony which made of two 
One law, and did unite, but not confound ; 
Those heavenly poets which did see 
Thy will, and it express 
In rhythmic feet?in common pray for me, 
That I by them excuse not my excess 
In seeking secrets, or poeticness. 



And thy illustrious zodiac 
Of twelve apostles, which engirt this All, 
?From whom whosoever do not take 
Their light, to dark deep pits throw down and fall ;? 
As through their prayers Thou'st let me know 
That their books are divine, 
May they pray still, and be heard, that I go 
Th' old broad way in applying ; O decline 
Me, when my comment would make Thy word mine. 



And since Thou so desirously 
Didst long to die, that long before Thou couldst, 
And long since Thou no more couldst die, 
Thou in thy scatter'd mystic body wouldst 
In Abel die, and ever since 
In Thine ; let their blood come 
To beg for us a discreet patience 
Of death, or of worse life ; for O, to some 
Not to be martyrs, is a martyrdom. 



Therefore with Thee triumpheth there 
A virgin squadron of white confessors, 
Whose bloods betroth'd not married were, 
Tender'd, not taken by those ravishers. 
They know, and pray that we may know, 
In every Christian 
Hourly tempestuous persecutions grow ; 
Temptations martyr us alive ; a man 
Is to himself a Diocletian. 



The cold white snowy nunnery, 
Which, as Thy Mother, their high abbess, sent 
Their bodies back again to Thee, 
As Thou hadst lent them, clean and innocent ; 
Though they have not obtain'd of Thee, 
That or Thy Church or I 
Should keep, as they, our first integrity, 
Divorce Thou sin in us, or bid it die, 
And cal