Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
 
Litany
By John Donne (1573–1631)
 
FATHER of heav’n, and Him by whom
It, and us for it, and all else for us,
Thou mad’st and govern’st ever; come,
And re-create me, now grown ruinous;
My heart is by dejection clay, 1        5
And by self-murder red.
From this red earth, O Father, purge away
All vicious tinctures, that new-fashionèd
I may rise up from death before I’m dead.
 
O Son of God, who seeing two things,        10
Sin and death, crept in which were never made;
By bearing one, tri’dst with what stings
The other could Thine heritage invade;
O be Thou nail’d unto my heart,
And crucified again.        15
Part not from it, though it from Thee would part,
But let it be, by applying so Thy pain,
Drown’d in Thy blood, and in Thy passion slain.
 
O Holy Ghost, whose temple I
Am, but of mud walls and condensèd dust,        20
And being sacrilegiously
Half wasted with youth’s fires of pride and lust,
Must with new storms be weather-beat;
Double in my heart Thy flame,
Which let devout sad tears intend, and let        25
(Though this glass-lanthorn flesh do suffer maim)
Fire, sacrifice, priest, altar, be the same.
 
Note 1. Line 5—A reference to the traditional explanation of the name Adam—“red earth”; the poet would say that the “Old Adam” still dwells in his heart. [back]
 
 
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