Annotation John Donne s Holy Sonnet IX

Topics: Grammatical person, Sonnet, John Donne Pages: 5 (798 words) Published: January 3, 2015
Annotation John Donne’s
Holy Sonnet IX

Holy Sonnet IX
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be dammed, alas ! why should I be ?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ?
And, mercy being easy, and glorious
To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ?
But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ?
O God, O !  of Thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sin's black memory.
That Thou remember them, some claim as debt ;
I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

Structure
1 If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
2 Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us,
3 If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
4 Cannot be dammed, alas ! why should I be ?
5 Why should intent or reason, born in me,
6 Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ?
7 And, mercy being easy, and glorious
8 To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ?
9 But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ?
10 O God, O !  of Thine only worthy blood,
11 And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
12 And drown in it my sin's black memory.
13 That Thou remember them, some claim as
debt ;
14 I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

Poetic
Traditions

Meditativ
e poetry

Sonnet 9
Structure

oSonnet has a rhyme scheme of

ABBAABBAACCDEE
oShows emphasis on line 12
oEmphasis on lines 13 and 14 also
because of change in rhyme scheme
oHas structure of meditative poetry: 1)
focus of setting 2) analysis of points 3)
colloquies (dialogue with God)
oDonne is often known for using parts of
meditative poetry structure, usually
colloquies.
oSonnet 9 uses trifled of meditative
poetry while using traditional rhyming
scheme and metaphors of traditional
poetry
oFocus of sin in the Garden, followed by
analysis of reasoning that are directed
to God

Religious References
1 If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
2 Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, Uses multiple religious 3 If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
references within the poem
4 Cannot be dammed, alas ! why should I be ?
Questions ways of God, and then
5 Why should intent or reason, born in me,
changes tone in line 8 to a tone of
6 Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ?
7 And, mercy being easy, and glorious
acceptance and repentance.
8 To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ?
Structure and questions
9 But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ?
according to refer to Romans 8.
10 O God, O !  of Thine only worthy blood,
11 And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,Uses same technique of 12 And drown in it my sin's black memory.
switching for first person plural
13 That Thou remember them, some claim as debt ;
pronoun to first person singular
14 I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

pronouns to get audience to
sympathizes with him and repent
to God. Topic of questioning also
appears in Romans 8.

 Change in Tone from line 8 to 9
 May have derived from

purpose of structure to
reference Romans 8
 Purpose to help reader
sympathize with speaker
1 If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
2 Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) Uses meditative poetry style of us,
dramatic statements
3 If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
 Switches from questioning to
4 Cannot be dammed, alas ! why should I be ?
explanation where speaker is
5 Why should intent or reason, born in me,
begging for mercy
6 Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ?
 Connects with Donne’s past
7 And, mercy being easy, and glorious
8 To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ?  Troubling past shines through 9 But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ?
in questioning, and portrays
10 O God, O !  of Thine only worthy blood,
Donne’s theme of creating
11 And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean
melancholic tones compared
flood,
to spiritual...


References: Archer, Stanley. "Meditation and the Structure of Donne 's "Holy Sonnets"“
ELH 28.2 (1961): 137-147
Poisonous Minerals '." Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme
29.4 (2005): 41-55
Through Contemporary 105.3 (2008): 535-569. MLA International Bibliography.
EBSCO. Web. 2 Mar. 2010.
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