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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
Oh, mon âme noire ! maintenant tu es convoquée par La maladie, le héraut et le champion de la mort ; Tu es comme un pèlerin, qui à l'étranger a commis Une trahison, et n'ose pas retourner d'où il a fui. Ou comme un voleur, qui jusqu'à ce que le jugement de mort soit lu, Souhaite lui-même être délivré de la prison ; Mais condamné et traîné vers l'exécution Souhaite être encore emprisonné. Pourtant la grâce, si tu repens, tu ne peux pas la manquer ; Mais qui te donnera cette grâce pour commencer ? Oh fais-toi toi-même noir avec de saintes lamentations Et rouge de honte, comme tu es avec tes péchés ; Ou lave-toi dans le sang du Christ qui a ce pouvoir Qu'étant rouge il change les âmes rouges en blanc.
About the headline (FAQ)
- Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2011 by Guy Laffaille, (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: 2011-07-05
Line count: 14
Word count: 134