Monday, February 16, 2015

La Corona

Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,        
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,  
Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,        
All changing unchanged Ancient of days.           
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays                   
Reward my Muse’s white sincerity;       
But what Thy thorny crown gain’d, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.     
The ends crown our works, but Thou crown’st our ends, 
For at our ends begins our endless rest.          
The first last end, now zealously possess’d,        
With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.         
’Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high;       
Salvation to all that will is nigh.

– John Donne, “La Corona,” c. 1633

This is the first of about a dozen poems grouped together in his “Divine Poems.”  I must admit to knowing very little about John Donne, his poetry, or how it’s classified.  I did pull a book of his off the library shelves two weeks ago and only last night got around to skimming it.  This poem is the first to catch my eye; the remaining dozen or so take up five or six pages.  Not much quantity-wise, but a near infinitude quality-wise.  “La Corona” – the Crown – took me a full twenty minutes to get through, to understand, to absorb, as best a padawan like me can, and I still think I short-changed both it and myself. 

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