Donne compares himself with four types of corruption: the drunkard, the thief, the sexually immoral and those who are proud of their acts. He did have a better vocabulary than we are allowed in this fallen time, where being proud is mandatory, and the godly sorrow of repentance is considered unthinkable, a crime against the self esteem of humanity.

This age is foolish. Donne was wiser.

Holy Sonnet Three.

O! might those sighs and tears return again
Into my breast and eyes, which I have spent,
That I might in this holy discontent
Mourn with some fruit, as I have mourn’d in vain.

In mine Idolatry what showers of rain
Mine eyes did waste? what griefs my heart did rent?
That sufferance was my sin, I now repent;
‘Cause I did suffer, I must suffer pain.

Th’ hydroptic drunkard, and night-scouting thief,
The itchy lecher, and self-tickling proud
Have the remembrance of past joys, for relief
Of coming ills. To poor me is allow’d

No ease; for long, yet vehement grief hath been
Th’ effect and cause, the punishment and sin.

John Donne

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