Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 9. From ‘The Crosse’
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
9. From ‘The Crosse’
By John Donne  (1573–1631)
  
WHO can blot out the Crosse, which th’instrument
Of God, dew’d on mee in the Sacrament?
Who can deny mee power, and liberty
To stretch mine armes, and mine owne Crosse to be?
Swimme, and at every stroake, thou art thy Crosse;        5
The Mast and yard make one, where seas do tosse;
Looke downe, thou spiest out Crosses in small things;
Looke up, thou seest birds rais’d on crossed wings;
All the Globes frame, and spheares, is nothing else
But the Meridians crossing Parallels.       10
Material Crosses then, good physicke bee,
But yet spirituall have chiefe dignity.
These for extracted chimique medicine serve,
And cure much better, and as well preserve;
Then are you your own physicke, or need none,       15
When Still’d, or purg’d by tribulation.
For when that Crosse ungrudg’d, unto you stickes,
Then are you to your selfe, a Crucifixe.
As perchance, Carvers do not faces make,
But that away, which hid them there, do take;       20
Let Crosses, soe, take what hid Christ in thee,
And be his image, or not his, but hee.

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