Mutimodal Sonnet IX Annotation

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Annotation of John Donnes Holy Sonnet IXLauren Fike

Holy Sonnet IXIf poisonous minerals, and if that tree, Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, If lecherous goats, if serpents envious Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ? Why should intent or reason, born in me, Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ? And, mercy being easy, and glorious To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ? But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ? O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood, And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, And drown in it my sin's black memory. That Thou remember them, some claim as debt ; I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

(1)If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, (3)If lecherous goats, if serpents envious

(2)Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, (4)Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ? (5)Why should intent or reason, born in me, (6)Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ? (7)And, mercy being easy, and glorious (8)To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ? (9)But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ? (10)O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood,

Classification of PoemArcher comments on the works of other scholars who claim Donnes poetry was influenced by meditative poetry. Meditative poetry has the following structure: 1) focus of setting 2) analysis of points 3) colloquies (dialogue with God) One scholar, Separates sonnet 9 into threefold structure corresponding to the three parts of meditation (Archer). Lines 1-3 focus on the sin in the Garden. Lines 4-8 analyze the reasoning behind the punishment of this sin. Lines 9-14 are directed to God as if in a conversation with Him. However, Sonnet IX incorporates poetic tradition through a rhyming scheme and detailed

(11)And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, (12)And drown in it my sin's black memory. (13)That Thou remember them, some claim as debt; (14)I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

Meditative Poetry

Poetic Tradition

Sonnet 9

no effect of Donnes Poetry

Debate of Meditative Meditative poetry influence had Meditative poetry

influenced Donnes PoetryArcher states that the flaw to his argument would be if he was introduced to Meditative poetry at a young age. It is possible outlet to Archers perspective.

Although Archer shows the claims of other scholars. He himself makes the claim that Donne was not influenced by meditative poetry. He claims Donne studied Meditative poetry during his career, not before his career as poet. Since his structure correlates from his beginning to works to his ending works, Meditative poetry could not have influenced his structure.

Personally, I disagree with Kuchar. He relates Meditative poetry to all the sonnets while this work relates Meditative poetry to Sonnet IX alone. As seen in the previous slide, the structure of Meditative poetry is

Kuchar argues that Donnes work do not take Meditative poetry form

Structure to Determine Meaning(1)If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, (2)Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, (3)If lecherous goats, if serpents envious (4)Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ? (5)Why should intent or reason, born in me, (6)Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ? (7)And, mercy being easy, and glorious (8)To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ? (9)But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ? (10)O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood, (11)And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, (12)And drown in it my sin's black memory. (13)That Thou remember them, some

Sonnet has rhyme scheme of ABBAABBAACCADD Poem is 14 lines (like a traditional sonnet) Iambic pentameter meter

Since the Sonnet uses typical structure of 14 lines and uses iambic pentameter as the meter, the untraditional rhyme scheme is emphasized. One sees a shift in the rhyme scheme at line 10, while line 12 is especially accentuated due to its lack of a couplet. One interprets this structure by concluding the meaning or main point of the poem is drawn through lines 10-14, with a stress on line 12. Furthermore, the speaker emphasizes in this poem the want of forgetfulness of sin.

S o n n e t I W o rd l X e

Diction Compared to Other Holy Sonnets

Holy Sonnets Wordle

In the Sonnet IX Wordle one sees that many questioning words appear such as if, why, and should. This choice in diction illustrates the speakers struggles with faith and doubt. While in the Wordle of the entire Holy Sonnets, one sees few questioning words. One can assume that Donnes usual speaker uses statements rather than questions. One concludes, that the common subject matter of faith is addresses differently in Sonnet IX than it is in most of the Holy Sonnets.

Note: a Wordle is a visual representation of words that gives more emphasis to repeated words through size.

Diction to Create Tone(1)If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, These words of inquiry create a sense of apprehension and uncertainty. (2)Whose fruit threw death on (else The reader feels the confusion and immortal) us, struggle of the speaker. (3)If lecherous goats, if serpents envious The speaker uses diction in another (4)Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I way to create a tone of uncertainty. be ? Lethean- references to the classical (5)Why should intent or reason, born in river of forgetfulness, Lethe, which existed in the the me, underworld(Silbergleid). (6)Make sins, else equal, in me more The idea of an underworld showcases heinous ? the religion of Paganism. The (7)And, mercy being easy, and glorious speaker illustrates his confusion (8)To God, in His stern wrath why further by mixing in diction that illustrates different religious ideas. threatens He ? Furthermore, he demonstrates this (9)But who am I, that dare dispute with confusion through the juxtaposition Thee ? of the word heavenly next to the (10)O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood, word Lethean. (11)And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, (12)And drown in it my sin's black memory. (13)That Thou remember them, some claim as debt;

Shift in Sonnet IX(1)If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, (2)Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, (3)If lecherous goats, if serpents envious (4)Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ? (5)Why should intent or reason, born in me, (6)Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ? (7)And, mercy being easy, and glorious (8)To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ? (9)But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ? (10)O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood, (11)And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, (12)And drown in it my sin's black memory. (13)That Thou remember them, some

One sees a complete change of mind in the speaker from the start of line 9. Chong suggests that Donne is using a shift similar to a particular chapter in the bible. In Romans 8 Paul uses a similar rhetorical question to But who am I to dispute with Thee? Using the pronoun thee ( a formal form of you during the time) shows a complete surrender to any points made against God. The structural and tonal change in line 9 reference Romans 8. This reference shows the speakers complete recoveryof his faith that was doubted

Rhetorical Strategy

Chong also suggests that Donne uses rhetorical strategy to convince the reader of the conclusion made. Chung makes the point that the reader is invited to sympathize with the speaker in what is said in the beginning of poem. (Questioning the fairness of salvation). Yet agreeing with the skepticism in the beginning, the reader is expected to follow through with the conclusion made at the end of the poem. (God is sovereign and should not be questioned). Chong supports this point through the change in pronouns. The shift from first person plural to first person singular allows the reader to more easily sympathize with the speaker. The speaker shifts the weight on to himself so the audience feels no pressure to abide but sorry for his confusion and doubt. He also supports this point through the way the speaker changes his mind. Instead of the speaker just accepting his faults, the speaker rebukes in a cry (shown through the explanation point). Listen to the recording of Lines 8-10 to more clearly understand this point. The audience sympathizes with the speaker and agrees to follow the same thought process as the speaker.

(1)If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, (2)Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us, (3)If lecherous goats, if serpents envious to (4)Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ? (5)Why should intent or reason, born in me, (6)Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous ? (7)And, mercy being easy, and glorious (8)To God, in His stern wrath why threatens He ? (9)But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ? Rebuked cry (10)O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood, (11)And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood, (12)And drown in it my sin's black memory. (13)That Thou remember them, some claim as debt; (14)I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

Metaphors Use of metaphysical metaphors Compares unlikely objects with each other to create unexpected imagery. Compares sin to lusty goats and malicious snakes. Compares grace to uncontrollable floodvs.

While aspects discussed in poem such as the fall of man, grace, and mercy usually create different imagery.

Dramatic Nature of Poem Through the punctuation, on would probably hear the poem more like the audio clip assembled: The following audio clip resembles Donnes poetry without the punctuation:K u ch a r su p p o rts th e cl i o f D o n n e p ro d u ci g am n d ra m a ti p o e try. H e ta ke s th i c s cl i to a fu rth e r exte n t b y am sta ti g , S o m e o f th e m o st n d ra m a ti m o m e n t o ccu r w h e n c D o n n e s sp e a ke r re co i s i th e l n fa ce o f G o d ( K u ch a r). A s a n exa m p l K u ch a r m e n ti n s l n e e o i 1 1 a s a p ri e exa m p l . m e K u ch a r re l te s th i a s a sp e ct o f D o n n e s p o e try to h i s l fe h i ry th ro u g h th e d ra m a i sto exp e ri n ce d i e m o ti n s w h e n e n o co m p l ti g i te rse cti g e n n n d i u rse o f re l g i n s i sco i o n C a th o l ci i sm a n d th e A n g l ca n i C h u rch .

Poetry Related to Life HistoryDonne often describes ecstatic religious experience with the same metaphors of earthly instability and material metamorphoses he uses to catalogue his melancholic, self-destructive inclinations (Trevor). In Sonnet IX, one sees Trevors claim. The speaker has a conversation with God where he reclaims his faith. One who is religious would consider this an ecstatic experience. However, many of the metaphors and descriptions are dark or depressing.

Interpretations from Annotations John Donne uses a variety of devices to give meaning to his poem. Metaphor Structure Diction Rhetorical Strategy Punctuation

One sees through these devices, Donnes speaker critiques his own spiritual life in hope that the audience will consider their spiritual life in a different perspective.

Works CitedArcher, Stanley. "Meditation and the Structure of Donne's "Holy Sonnets" ELH 28.2 (1961): 137-147. JSTOR. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Web. March 2010

Chong, Kenneth. "Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Self-Chastisement in Donne's 'If Poysonous Mineralls'." Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Rforme 29.4 (2005): 41-55. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. Kuchar, Gary. "Petrarchism and Repentance in John Donne's Holy Sonnets." Modern Philology: Critical and Historical Studies in Literature, Medieval Through Contemporary 105.3 (2008): 535-569. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 2 Mar. 2010.

Silbergleid, Robin. 2000. Web. 11 Mar. 2010.

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