Holy Sonnet 7,
“At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”

John Donne

Edited by Jack Lynch

Donne uses a number of complicated metaphors. My notes tend to give the literal meanings of the words he uses, but he is almost certainly drawing on other more figurative meanings as well.

The copy-text is the first edition of 1633. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are preserved.

At the round earths imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets
, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattred bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow, [5]
All whom warre, death, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe,
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound, [10]
’Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’ hadst seal’d my pardon, with thy blood.

Notes

blow | Your trumpets
In the Bible's Book of Revelation, seven trumpets will blow. Each of the first six brings a different plague, but after the seventh trumpet, the Resurrection will occur.
warre, death, age, agues, tyrannies
A recollection of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation chapter 6.
As if
The meaning of as if in the sonnet’s final line has baffled commentators.