Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
A Hymn to God the Father
By John Donne (1573–1631)
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;        5
            For I have more.
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
  Others to sin, and made my sins their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
  A year or two, but wallow’d in a score?        10
  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        15
  Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore;
  And having done that, Thou hast done; 1
            I fear no more.
Note 1. I cannot convince myself that the fifth line of the last stanza does not contain a pun on his own name, which was pronounced like the participle “done.” Walton tells us “that he caused it to be set to a most grave and solemn tune, and to be often sung to the organ by the choristers of St Paul’s Church in his own hearing, especially at the evening service, and at his return from his customary devotions in that place did occasionally say to a friend, ‘The words of this hymn have restored to me the same thoughts of joy that possessed my soul in my sickness when I composed it.’” [back]

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