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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By John Donne (1573–1631)

Easter Day

SLEEP, sleep, old Sun! thou canst not have repast
As yet the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better sun rose before thee to-day.
Who not content t’ enlighten all that dwell        5
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlighten’d hell;
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As at thy presence here our fires grow pale.
Whose body, having walk’d on earth, and now
Hastening to heaven, would—that He might allow        10
Himself unto all stations, and fill all—
For these three days become a mineral.
He was all gold when He lay down, but rose
All tincture, 1 and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is        15
Of power to make ev’n sinful flesh like His.
Note 1. “Easter Day,” line 13. This couplet means that Christ after His resurrection was enabled to make others what He is Himself by sending out His spirit upon them; just as the “tincture of gold”—that elixir of which alchemists dreamed—could transmute all other metals to itself. For another reference to the “tincture” see Herbert’s poem. [back]