“Temple,” from La Corona (ca. 1609)
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe,
Joseph, turn back; see where your child doth sit,
Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
Which Himself on the doctors did bestow.
The Word but lately could not speak, and lo!
It suddenly speaks wonders; whence comes it,
That all which was, and all which should be writ,
A shallow seeming child should deeply know?
His Godhead was not soul to His manhood,
Nor had time mellow’d Him to this ripeness;
But as for one which hath a long task, ’tis good,
With the sun to begin His business,
He in His age’s morning thus began,
By miracles exceeding power of man.
John Donne (1572-1631) was an English cleric, poet, and scholar, acclaimed as one of the finest preachers of his day. He is widely considered the preeminent metaphysical poet, prized for his inventiveness in the use of metaphor and his dramatic, vigorous style. He was ordained after a political and military career, serving as chaplain at Lincoln’s Inn, and for the last ten years of his life, as dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. His La Corona, is a cycle of seven short poems on the life of Christ. Donne is commemorated on the liturgical calendar of several Anglican churches on March 31.