O my black soul!

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  • Holy Sonnet IV (O my black soul!)
    • O my black soul! Now thou art summoned/ By sickness, death's herald, and champion;
      • fear for self reaches panic.
      • innevitability - death is a ruler (he's a subject)
        • interesting that death isn't capitalised...
    • Thou art like a pilgrim which abroad hath done/Treason and durst not turn to whence he's fled,
      • religious images
      • travelling towards redemption irony that this itself has been turned into a sin
      • he's come from heaven - fear that he has to return. separation of body and soul.
      • quite an extreme image - defying your ruler as well as origins. brings the structure of jacobeian life heavily into question.
    • Or like a thief, which till death's doom be read,/ Wisheth himself delivered from prison,
      • he will be delivered from prison but not to where he wants to go...
      • doom = domesday
      • soul doesn't want to be stuck in the body
    • But damned and haled to execution,/ Wisheth that still he might be' imprisoned.
      • sinner who begins to love hi s prison because it represents safety in comparison to finality
      • deep ironies and confusions
    • Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack;/But who shall give thee that grace to begin?
      • God's grace = forgiveness
      • catharsis - purification of emotions
      • again symmetry adds a sense of unanswerableness
    • O make thyself with Holy mourning black,/ And red with blushing, as thou art with sin;
      • he begins the process of redemption in a similar way visually as he started
      • highlights that these are colours of violence and of salvation - he reimagines himself
    • Or wash thee is Christ's blood, which hath this might,/ That it being red, it dyes red souls to white.
      • again duality of sinfulness, passion/ strength and redemption.
    • Martz: by setting his deathbed as a "scene of legal trial" he engages us is dramatic action.


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