Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
A Hymn to Christ
By John Donne (1572–1631)
 
At the Author’s Last Going into Germany

IN what torn ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood.
Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise        5
Thy face, yet through that mask I know those eyes,
Which, though they turn away sometimes,—
They never will despise.
 
I sacrifice this island unto thee,
And all whom I love here, and who love me:        10
When I have put this flood ’twixt them and me,
Put thou thy blood betwixt my sins and thee.
As the tree’s sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter now I go
Where none but thee, the eternal root        15
Of true love, I may know.
 
Nor thou, nor thy religion, dost control
The amorousness of an harmonious soul;
But thou wouldst have that love thyself: as thou
Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now.        20
Thou lov’st not till from loving more thou free
My soul: who ever gives, takes liberty;
Oh! if thou car’st not whom I love,
Alas, thou lov’st not me!
 
Seal, then, this bill of my divorce to all        25
On whom those fainter beams of love did fall;
Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be
On face, wit, hopes (false mistresses), to thee.
Churches are best for prayer that have least light;
To see God only, I go out of sight;        30
And to ’scape stormy days, I choose
An everlasting night.
 
 
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