April 26, 2014

Poem: At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners

At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners is a sonnet by the English poet, John Donne (1572–1631). It is one of his 19 Holy Sonnets or Divine Meditations which were published posthumously in 1633. It is believed that most of the poems in the collection date from 1609/10, a period in Donne's life in which he experienced a great deal of personal hardship, setbacks, and turmoil. At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners is one of 3 sonnets from that collection included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974). The other poems are: Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God and Oh, To Vex Me Contraries Meet In One.

Read by Richard Burton

AT THE EARTH'S IMAGINED CORNERS by John Donne (Public Domain)

At the round earth's imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall overthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

Choral setting by Hubert Parry (1848-1918)

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