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

The Annuntiation and Passion

II. John Donne

TAMELY, fraile body, abstaine to-day; to-day

My soule eates twice, Christ hither and away.

Shee sees him man, so like God made in this,

That of them both a circle embleme is,

Whose first and last concurre; this doubtfull day

Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away.

Shee sees him nothing twice at once, who is all;

Shee sees a cedar plant itselfe and fall;

Her Maker put to making; and the head

Of life, at once, nor yet alive, yet dead.

She sees at once the virgin mother stay

Reclus’d at home, publique at Golgotha.

Sad and rejoyc’d shee’s seen at once, and seen

At almost fiftie, and at scarce fifteene.

At once a sonne is promis’d her, and gone,

Gabriel gives Christ to her—He her to John.

Not fully a mother, shee’s in orbitie,

And once the receiver and the legacie.

All this, and all betweene, this day hath showne,

Th’ abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one

(As in plaine maps the furthest West is East)

Of the angels Ave and Consummatum est.

How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,

Deales, in some times, and seldom, joyning these;

As by the selfe-fix’d pole wee never doe

Direct our course, but the next starre thereto;

Which showes where the other is, and which we say,

Because it strayes not farre, doth never stray:

So God by his Church, neerest to him wee know

And stand firme, if wee by her motion goe;

His Spirit, as his fiery pillar, doth

Leade, and his Church, as cloud, to one end both:

This Church, by letting those daies joine, hath showne

Death and conception in mankinde is one.

Or ’twas in him the same humility,

That he would be a man, and leave to bee:

Or, as creation he hath made, as God,

With the last judgement, but one period,

His imitating spouse would joyne in one

Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone;

Or, as though one blood-drop, which thence did fall,

Accepted, would have serv’d, He yet shed all;

So though the least of his paines, deeds, or words,

Would busie a life, she all this day affords.

This treasure then in grosse, my soule, repay,

And in my life retaile it every day.