Love unknown

Finding himself travelling west on Good Friday in pursuit of worldly business, John Donne imagines himself straining to look east to witness the crucifixion, but also relieved that he cannot look: Who sees Gods face, that is self life, must dye;What a death were it then to see God dye? Donne’s response to this impossibleContinue reading “Love unknown”

More wisdom from John Donne (1572-1631)

John Donne died on this day in 1631, after a long illness. His literary life is marked by a circling back to the themes of death and decay, inspiration and resurrection, that seem vital to me in these strange times. Here is a small selection from his poems and sermons to give you hope inContinue reading “More wisdom from John Donne (1572-1631)”

Feeling the fear

One of the things I treasure about being a historian (well, a literary historian) is the frequent reminder that nothing is new under the sun. Recently I’ve been re-reading John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, which I was planning to use as the basis of the final chapel service this term. Donne’s wild and evocative meditationsContinue reading “Feeling the fear”