John Donne

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

From ‘The Cross’


Who can blot out the Cross, which th’instrument
Of God, dew’d on me in the Sacrament?
Who can deny me power, and liberty
To stretch mine arms, and mine own Cross to be?
Swim, and at every stroke, thou art thy Cross;
The Mast and yard make one, where seas do toss;
Look down, thou spiest out Crosses in small things;
Look up, thou seest birds rais’d on crossed wings;
All the Globes frame, and spheres, is nothing else
But the Meridians crossing Parallels.
Material Crosses then, good physic bee,
But yet spiritual have chief dignity.
These for extracted chemic medicine serve,
And cure much better, and as well preserve;
Then are you your own physic, or need none,
When Still’d, or purg’d by tribulation.
For when that Cross ungrudg’d, unto you sticks,
Then are you to your self, a Crucifix.
As perchance, Carvers do not faces make,
But that away, which hid them there, do take;
Let Crosses, so, take what hid Christ in thee,
And be his image, or not his, but he.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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