Treasure Island

John Donne

(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

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A Hymn To God The Father


Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2001
Edited: Monday, May 14, 2001

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Read poems about / on: fear, son, death, father, god, running

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  • * Sunprincess * (11/9/2013 8:28:00 PM)

    I hope God has forgiven John of all his sins... amazing
    I hope he forgives me of my past, present and future sins.. (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (6/28/2013 12:18:00 AM)

    a celebrated poem which shows Donne totally different from his love poems... depicting the last moments' fears of the consequence of sins he has been committing, so earnest he looks in his demand/request of forgiveness...Donne is EVERYMAN here! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (6/28/2013 12:11:00 AM)

    It's musing with such a classical tune, the sin already been diluted by the essence of virtue. Fantastic beauty of construction yet vibrating loudly through the nerves...... I feel the quality of creation which brings an piece of art beyond the particular timing zone. Thanks to PH.............................................................. Pranab k c (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (6/28/2012 10:58:00 AM)

    Donne seeking forgiveness for that which he was born into and continues to propagate-original sin. His writing is so brilliant, that his guilt is palpable. (Report) Reply

  • Sw33t h3@rT (6/28/2010 9:46:00 PM)

    I enjoyed the ending of this poem but definetly appreciated it a little more once i re-read it (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (6/28/2010 3:06:00 AM)

    Highlights nicely, with humility, at the ending, of having GODS son as our savior for our weak failings in life's lusts. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (6/28/2009 11:30:00 AM)

    John Donne was a metaphysical poet who delighted in creating word-play in his poetry. Has no one noticed the double and triple meaning he gives the past tense of the verb DONE? Read the poem aloud and you might be surprised and pleased by his clever use of one word to denote himself (DONNE) and action he must take to redeem himself in the eyes of GOD THE FATHER! Donne's persona (which we can take to be John Donne himself) questions GOD about his sin that he still commits on a regular basis though he's sorry! Second stanza Donne admits that he has led others astray, even though he quit for a year, he's spent twenty years wallowing in like a pig in a sty. The final stanza asserts his fear that he will die and be damned, but he expects the grace of GOD THE FATHER to shine on him through the intercession of GOD in the form of JESUS CHRIST!

    Note the final line of each stanza - from FOR I HAVE MORE to I FEAR NO MORE! (Report) Reply

  • Peter Stavropoulos (6/28/2007 8:37:00 AM)

    'Shall shine as he shines now, ..'
    'thy Son' is John Donne's muse. A great poem. The devout sinner in one of his finest moments. (Report) Reply

  • Philip Record (9/20/2005 4:20:00 PM)

    I think this is a pure, honest prayer. The only certainty of the promise will
    materialise upon our demise-so we end up rationing our faith over a lifetime! ! (Report) Reply

Read all 17 comments »

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