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Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art summoned By sicknesse, death's herald, and champion; Thou art like a pilgrim, which abroad hath done Treason, and durst not turne to whence hee is fled, Or like a thiefe, which till death's doome be read, Wisheth himselfe deliver'd from prison; But dam'd and hal'd to execution, Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned. Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lacke; But who shall give thee that grace to beginne? Oh make thyselfe with holy mourning blacke, And red with blushing, as thou are with sinne; Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might That being red, it dyes red soules to white.
About the headline (FAQ)
- by John Donne (1572 - 1631), no title, appears in Holy Sonnets, no. 4 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), "Oh my blacke Soule!", op. 35 no. 1 (1945), published 1946 [ high voice and piano ], from The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, no. 1 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Mervyn Burtch (b. 1929), "Oh my blacke Soule!", published 1976 [ four-part mixed chorus a cappella ], from Three Sonnets of John Donne [sung text not yet checked]
- by John Eaton (1935 - 2015), "Oh, my black Soul!", op. 1 no. 3, first performed 1957 [ voice and full orchestra ], from Song Cycle on Holy Sonnets of John Donne, no. 3 [sung text not yet checked]
- by Juliana Hall (b. 1958), "O my blacke Soule", 2013, first performed 2014 [ tenor and piano ], from The Holy Sonnets of John Donne - 9 Songs for Tenor and Piano, no. 1 [sung text checked 1 time]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- GER German (Deutsch) (Daniel Johannsen) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 114
O meine schwarze Seele, nun bist du befallen von Krankheit, dem Boten und Verfechter des Todes; bist wie ein Pilger, der in der Fremde Verrat beging und nicht wagt, dorthin zurückzukehren, von wo er floh, oder wie ein Dieb, dem sein Todesurteil verkündet wird und der sich aus dem Kerker sehnt; aber verdammt und zur Hinrichtung geschleppt, wünscht er sich, lieber eingesperrt zu sein. Doch welche Gnade — wenn du bereust, kannst du nicht fehlgehen; wer aber wird dir jene Gnade erweisen, damit zu beginnen? O mach dich mit heiliger Klage schwarz und rot vor Scham, wie du es vor lauter Sünden bist; oder wasch dich in Christi Blut, das solche Macht hat, dass es — wenngleich auch rot — rote Seelen weiß färbt.
About the headline (FAQ)Translation of title "Oh my blacke Soule!" = "O meine schwarze Seele"
- Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2020 by Daniel Johannsen, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
- a text in English by John Donne (1572 - 1631), no title, appears in Holy Sonnets, no. 4
This text was added to the website: 2020-10-17
Line count: 14
Word count: 124