Hymn to God the Father

Hymn to God the Father

  • Submitted By: udayraj2309
  • Date Submitted: 12/24/2008 12:28 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 726
  • Page: 3
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John Donne’s Hymn to God the Father is his religious poetry. It is departure from the general run of his religious poetry in the sense that the poet achieves the much needed sense of security and joys in his prayers to God. In the religious poetry that precedes it the poet finds himself wading through the maze of encouragements of fleshly life accompanied by a striving for divine grace. Here he is in a different moral and spiritual clime, breathing something bracing and solutary, in a sharp contrast to what he got in murky landscape of vile passions. In the present poem, he wrestles with sin in the fond hope of redemption and comes out triumphant.
The hymn is composed of three close-knit stanzas. In each stanza the poet beseeches God to forgive his sin. But in the first two stanzes he is not sure that all his sins would be forgiven. It is only towards the end of the poem that he gains full faith in God’s magnanimity. The wavering is due to his awareness that he has fallen into a sinful way of life. He also knows that the traitor is lodged within him and it may prompt him to swerve aside from the path of God’s grace. As he points out in Holy Sonnet,
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That one houre myselfe I can sustain.

In one of his sermons, Donne dwells on his susceptibility to the frailties of flesh:

…there is a sin before then; a speechless
Sin, a whispering sin, which nobody hears
But our own conscience.

In his illness he lays bare his soul in the most candid manner:

And I have sinned before thy face, in my
Hypocrisies in prayer, in my ostentation
And the mingling a respect of myselfe
in preaching the word. (From a sermon).

His sins abound. He finds himself in a deluge and makes a miserable sight of himself quite unworthy having Lord’s grace. The plight is well explained in his Holly Sonnet

Depaire behind, and death before doth cast
Such terrour.

The root of Donne’s vexation...

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