- 1By miracles exceeding power of man,
- 2Hee faith in some, envie in some begat,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus3For, what weake spirits admire, ambitious, hate;
- 4In both affections many to him ran,
- 5But Oh! the worst are most, they will and can,
- Critical Apparatus6Alas, and do, unto th'immaculate,
- 7Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a Fate,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus8Measuring selfe-lifes infinity to'a span,
- Critical Apparatus9Nay to an inch. Loe, where condemned hee
- 10Beares his owne crosse, with paine, yet by and by
- Critical Apparatus11When it beares him, he must beare more and die.
- Editor’s Note12Now thou art lifted up, draw mee to thee,
- 13And at thy death giving such liberall dole,
- 14Moyst, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soule.
3 weake] meeke Dob, O'F, W
l. 3. weake spirits: the 'poor in spirit', the 'weak things of the world' which God has chosen 'to confound the things which are mighty' (I Cor. i. 27). Donne may have felt that 'meeke' was too obvious an antithesis to 'ambitious' and altered it to make the contrast between the Christian and worldly assessments of weakness and strength.
6 th'] the 1633
8 to'a span TCD, Dob, O'F, W: to span 1633, C 57, H 49
l. 8. Measuring selfe-lifes infinity to'a span. Cf. Ps. xxxix. 6: 'Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long' (B.C.P.). 'Measuring to' probably means 'reducing to': the infinity of life itself was reduced to the length of a human life—indeed to less, for Christ did not live out the allotted span. It may be used, however, as it is today, to express precision in measurement. The point is then the absurdity of measuring the hours, nay minutes, of life itself.
9 inch. Loe] inch, loe 1633
11 die.] die; 1633
l. 12. Now thou art lifted up, draw mee to thee. Cf. John xii. 32: 'I, if I be lifted up …, will draw all men unto me.'