John Donne

A Hymn to Christ at the Author's Last Going into Germany

    In what torn ship soever I embark,
    That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark;
    What sea soever swallow me, that flood
    Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood;
5   Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
    Thy face; yet through that mask I know those eyes,
       Which, though they turn away sometimes,
         They never will despise.
    I sacrifice this island unto thee,
10   And all whom I loved there, and who loved me;
    When I have put our seas ’twixt them and me,
    Put thou thy sea betwixt my sins and thee.
    As the tree’s sap doth seek the root below
    In winter, in my winter now I go,
15      Where none but thee, th’eternal root
         Of true love I may know.
    Nor thou nor thy religion dost control,
    The amorousness of an harmonious soul,
    But thou wouldst have that love thyself; as thou
20   Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now,
    Thou lov’st not, till from loving more, thou free
    My soul. Who ever gives, takes liberty;
       O, if thou car’st not whom I love
         Alas, thou lov’st not me.
25   Seal then this bill of my divorce to all,
    On whom those fainter beams of love did fall;
    Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be
    On fame, wit, hopes (false mistresses) to thee.
    Churches are best for prayer that have least light;
30   To see God only I go out of sight;
       And to ’scape stormy days, I choose
         An everlasting night.

Robert Clark

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