Feast or Fast: Good Friday 3/25

El Greco Annunciation

Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling on One Day.  1608.

by John Donne

Tamely, fraile body, abstaine to day; to day
My soule eates twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle embleme is,
Whose first and last concurre; this doubtfull day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.
Shee sees him nothing twice at once, who is all;
Shee sees a Cedar plant it selfe, and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead.
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclus’d at home, Publique at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoyc’d shee’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fiftie, and at scarce fifteene.
At once a Sonne is promis’d her, and gone,
Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, Shee’s in Orbitie,*
At once receiver and the legacie.
All this, and all betweene, this day hath showne,
Th’ Abridgement of Christs story, which makes one
(As in plaine Maps, the furthest West is East)
Of the Angels Ave, and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, Gods Court of faculties
Deales, in some times, and seldome joyning these!
As by the selfe-fix’d Pole wee never doe
Direct our course, but the next starre thereto,
Which showes where the other is, and which we say
(Because it strayes not farre) doth never stray;
So God by his Church, neerest to him, wee know,
And stand firme, if wee by her motion goe;
His Spirit, as his fiery Pillar doth
Leade, and his Church, as cloud; to one end both.
This Church, by letting these daies joyne, hath shown
Death and conception in mankinde is one;
Or ’twas in him the same humility,
That would be a man, and leave to be:
Or as creation he hath made, as God,
With the last judgement, but one period,
His imitating Spouse would joyne in one
Manhoods extremes: He shall come, he is gone:
Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,
Accepted, would have serv’ d, he yet shed all;
So though the least of his paines, deeds, or words,
Would busie a life she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in grosse, my Soule uplay,
And in my life retaile it every day.

_________________
*  State of having lost a child

El Greco crucifixion Cristo sulla croce

 

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