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