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Poetry

Sunday Sonnet

Kea tells me to put the year of publication in. English has change over that time: sprite means spirit. Donne is writing that he is both flesh and spirit.

His comment that new spheres and new seas — land, knowledge, discovery, wealth (he was writing this at a time when the New World was being colonized) do not change our state and our sorrow is more true in this time of decolonization and postmodernism than it was for him.

For the British believed in God — and, with the demons, feared.

Holy Sonnet 5.

I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements, and an angelic sprite;
But black sin hath betray’d to endless night
My world’s both parts, and, O, both parts must die.
You which beyond that heaven which was most high
Have found new spheres, and of new land can write,
Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
Or wash it if it must be drown’d no more.
But O, it must be burnt; alas! the fire
Of lust and envy burnt it heretofore,
And made it fouler; let their flames retire,
And burn me, O Lord, with a fiery zeal
Of Thee and Thy house, which doth in eating heal.

John Donne, 1633