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Holy Sonnet IX: If Poisonous Minerals, And If That Tree Analysis



Author: poem of John Donne Type: poem Views: 18


If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be damned, alas, why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And Mercy being easy, and glorious
To God; in his stern wrath, why threatens he?
But who am I, that dare dispute with thee
O God? Oh! of thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sin's black memory;
That thou remember them, some claim as debt,
I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.

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It is interesting to think about the fact that these Holy Sonnets were written years after Donne left the Catholic Church and began to follow Protestant ways. The Reformation, during the time when these poems were written, was a time when many decided to meditate on the closeness and truthfulness of their faith towards God. Unlike followers of the Catholic faith, Protestants believed in a closer connection to God and the ability of obtaining righteousness and salvation through faith alone. It was believed by many that the Catholic Church had ulterior motives and had let God not be the center of attention.
In this poem, the beginning seems to be asking God why he the speaker has sinned, as if the person speaking was the still-Catholic Donne telling God that he was still a religious man. As the poem progresses, it shows the transformation of Donne into a Protestant mindset and asks God to forget his sins. His sins, the forgetting of God\'s importance, are clearly burdening Donne and he hopes that God can see that he is still faithful and religious now that he has regained a connection with God.
Ali Raza Ch.

| Posted on 2010-11-09 | by a guest




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