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By John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

         Which was my sin, though it were done before?

Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,

         And do run still, though still I do deplore?

                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

                        For I have more.


Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won

         Others to sin, and made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun

         A year or two, but wallow’d in, a score?

                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,

                        For I have more.


I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

         My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

         Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;

                And, having done that, thou hast done;

                        I fear no more.


  • Living

Poet Bio

John Donne
There are two John Donnes: the brilliant, pleasure-seeking man-about-town who, in his youth, wrote frank love poems to various women along with satires that jeered his fellow men, and the sober, serious Dean of St. Paul’s, an Anglican reverend famed for his moving sermons and profound “Holy Sonnets.” One of the Metaphysical poets (John Dryden coined the term half a century later), Donne was known for his razor wit and his extended comparisons, also called conceits. See More By This Poet

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