Edward Farr, ed. Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. 1845.

Good Friday

II. John Donne

(Riding Westward.)

LET man’s soule be a spheare, and then in this

The intelligence that moves devotion is;

And as the other spheares by being growne

Subject to forraigne motion lose their owne,

And being by others hurried every day,

Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:

Pleasure or businesse, so our soules admit

For their first mover, and are whirled by it.

Hence is’t that I am carryed toward the West

This day, when my soule’s forme leads toward the East.

There I should see a Sunne by rising set,

And by that setting endlesse day beget.

But that Christ on this Crosse did rise and fall,

Sinne had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I almost be glad I do not see

The spectacle of too much weight for mee.

Who sees God’s face, that is selfe life, must dye;

What a death were it then to see God dye!

It made his own lieutenant Nature shrinke,

It made his footstoole crack, and the sunne winke.

Could I behold those hands which span the poles

And tune all spheares at once pierc’d with those holes?

Could I behold that endlesse height which is

Zenith to us, and our antipodes

Humbled below us? or that blood which is

The seat of all our soules, if not of his,

Made dust of dust? or that flesh which was worne

By God, for his apparell, rag’d and torne?

If on these things I durst not looke, durst I

Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,

Who was God’s partner here, and furnish’d thus

Halfe of that Sacrifice which ransom’d us?

Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,

They are present yet into my memory;

For that looks towards them, and thou lookst towards mee,

O Saviour, as thou hangst upon the tree:

I turne my backe to thee but to receive

Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.

O thinke mee worth thine anger; punish mee;

Burne off my rusts and my deformity;

Restore thine image so much by thy grace

That thou may’st know mee, and I’ll turne my face.