Friday, June 14, 2013

Analysis of "Holy Sonnet 7" by John Donne

Original poem reprinted online here: "Holy Sonnet 7" by John Donne
Originally read: February 28, 2013
More information about the Poet: John Donne




This wasn't a poem a day.  I wanted to reread this poem in conjunction with the previous poem I analyzed "Tis Late" by April Bernard which alluded to this poem.  I would write about the connection between both.  The allusion to this poem in "Tis Late" comes in the third person part where the previuous script writing graduate student reciting this first line of this poem., "At the round earth's imagined corners, blow."  It might be a jump into the academic intelligence doesn't necessarily bring real world experience.

Rather this poem, goes from epic religious request to a more personal internal strife.  Every four lines in this poem uses different techniques -- and although that would mean different subjects (the usage of a different technique like from first to third, or from narrative to list, or line lengths) usually indicate a volta or a change in direction; however, I feel that  this poem is trying to condense moments to something understandable.

The first four lines have a command tone to them as the speaker telling angels to have the dead rise from their death.  Note with these four lines the usage of adjective noun combinations --   "imagined corners" "numberless infinites" which are very broad but epic general descriptions, there isn't anything specific which goes along with the speaker asking for the "scattered bodies" -- everyone.

What the speaker slightly focuses on (note still going along the lines of the flow of the poem) the varius way people die.  I'll just quote the four lines:

All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o'ethrow
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.

The first line alludes to the big flood, then the big fire which are general death reasons -- but also the least likely in reality -- the comes this speed of reasons, with each being more possible (even with the general term of "chance" is more likely than a massive flood or fire.    And leads to the dead not actually feeling "death's woe" which is the core of the poem and the true focus of the poem -- everything that has been discussed refers to the feeling about death, death, and how people die.

These thoughts are internalized with the introduction of the I through "my sins." The sins aren't further explained (although there could be assumption of "original sin").  The focus instead is the complete loss of authority with, "'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace."

And the couplet at the end, the speaker is practically begging -- humbled perhaps, "Teach me how to repent; for that's as good / as if thou'hadst seal'd my pardon with thy blood."  The iambs here is a bit -- well.  This shows the lack of control and authority.  Maybe the speake's "sin" is pride -- wanting too much authority and control.

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