John Donne

Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Divine Poems (Second Edition)

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IThe Father

  • 1Father of Heaven, and him, by whom
  • 2    It, and us for it, and all else, for us
  • Critical Apparatus3   Thou mad'st, and govern'st ever, come
  • 4And re-create mee, now growne ruinous:
  • Editor’s Note5      My heart is by dejection, clay,
  • 6      And by selfe-murder, red.
  • 7From this red earth, O Father, purge away
  • Editor’s Note8All vicious tinctures, that new fashioned
  • Critical Apparatus9I may rise up from death, before I'am dead.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
3 mad'st] madest 1633
Editor’s Note
ll. 5–6. My heart is by dejection, clay, &c. Melancholy, the cold and dry humour, corresponds to earth. The clay of his heart is red because by sin we 'wound our soule away'. Cf. 'We are made but men … and man … is but Adam: and Adam is but earth, but red earth, earth dyed red in bloud, … the bloud of our own soules' (Sermons, ix. 49). Donne often refers to the notion that 'Adam' means 'red earth', the Hebrew for 'red' being adom. This interpretation goes back to Jerome.
Editor’s Note
l. 8. vicious tinctures: 'the adhering but not essential impurities' in metals, which must be purged before the true 'tincture' which will transmute them is projected. See E. H. Duncan, 'Donne's Alchemical Figures' (E.L.H. ix, 1942), and note to 'Resurrection', ll. 9–16, p. 95.
Critical Apparatus
9 before] ere Dob, O'F
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