At the Round Earth’s Imagin’d Corners

by John Donne

At the round earth's imagined corners blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go ;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you, whose eyes
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space ;
For, if above all these my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of Thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent, for that's as good
As if Thou hadst seal'd my pardon with Thy blood.

 

 

Title:

At the Round Earth’s Imagin’d Corners from Holy Sonnets #7

Poet:

Donne, John

Year of Publication:

1633

Age Appropriate:

16+

Notes:

Unworthiness

Category:

Faith in God

Form:

Sonnet; Petrarchan

Type:

Lyric

Rhyme:

Irregular; abba;abba;cdcd;ee

Literary Period:

Puritan and Cavalier

Things to Discuss:

Review the sonnet form and compare the Petrarchan to the Shakespearian. Could this also be considered a Miltonic? Why or why not? Is there a hint of selfishness in the poet’s request to “let others sleep” but “Me” I need more time?

About the Poem:

This is number seven nineteen poems called Divine Meditations. They may be described as personal, passionate, declarations of Donne’s love for God. Revealing his doubts, and fears of unworthiness. The poem is clearly metaphysical, speaking to angels, to God. It seems to be a serious warning for all to prepare for the day of judgment. At the same time after he puts down all of the sins that must be accounted for with his macabre sense of wit, coupled with the unexpected, he has a change of heart and begs for time on earth to put everything right.

About the Poet:

When Donne (1572-1631) died he was Dean of St. Paul’s. His poetry reflects his awareness that death comes and things decay. These two inevitables led him, on the one hand, to reckless amorous adventures in the first stage of his life and pure religiosity in the final. As in this iterative verse "On the Sacrament":

He was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it;
I do believe and take it.