Is Lady Macbeth a Fiend or a Caring Wife?

Is Lady Macbeth really an evil fiend-like queen? Selfish, bullying and cruel? Or is Lady Macbeth simply ambitious for a husband whom she loves, and so forces herself to deny her true self, which is tender and vulnerable?

During the 18th and 19th centuries audiences watching Shakespeare’s Macbeth wanted Lady Macbeth to be fiend-like. A few actresses wanted to show her softer side, but the image was cast and it took a brave Lady to try to break the mould. The famous actress, Ellen Terry, attempted it and the reception was mixed. But, from then on more actresses were willing to explore a new side of Lady Macbeth.

In this hub I compare Lady Macbeth the fiend and Lady Macbeth the caring wife. Please take the quick poll at the end to indicate how you perceive Lady Macbeth’s character to be.

In this more traditional view of the character, Lady Macbeth is by far the stronger and more vicious member of the partnership. Lady Macbeth has ambition, she wants a crown, and Macbeth is going to get it for her. Calling on the spirits of murder, she is almost a fourth witch. She is in harmony with dark night, birds of ill omen, and things that are damned.

Lady Macbeth almost revels in cruelty and despises her husband Macbeth for being too soft and compassionate, but she knows she can rule him. When Macbeth looks like backing out of the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth bullies him into submission. But she does not commit the murder herself. Perhaps she is content to leave the most dangerous part to her husband? When he bungles, she marches off in desperation to smear the grooms in blood. Scornful of her husband’s weakness, she taunts him with cowardice. She cannot share any regret or remorse he may feel. Next morning, when Macbeth is in danger of arousing suspicion by his over-loud grief at the king’s death, and his sudden murder of the grooms, Lady Macbeth pretends to faint. She thinks that Macbeth can’t do anything right.

Things start to go wrong for Lady Macbeth once Macbeth comes into his own as king. He becomes harder to control, he no longer asks her what he should do. There is only one ruler in this Kingdom, and it is not Lady Macbeth! She even has to ask him for an audience. She suspects that he is going to kill Banquo and she encourages him to do so. Even so, she is worried about his state of mind, he seems dangerously obsessed, and if he goes too far he may expose them.

Macbeth does not need her ruthlessness any more, he has enough of his own, and he has broken away from her. He needs her quick wits and nerves of steel only once more, to save them at the banquet when he lapses into his old terrors and imaginings.

It is this perhaps more than anything that drives Lady Macbeth to the brink of insanity. In her sleep-walking, she re-enacts the times when she could control Macbeth. If she feels regret at the murder, it is perhaps because she cannot wash away the event that has led to this sorry state of affairs. She has learnt that what is done is never undone, and there is always a price to pay. She may feel that the price is being paid now, in the form of this new, uncontrollable, Macbeth, or that it will be paid soon, for one day their crime must be discovered. In her dreams she thinks that everybody can see the blood on her hands.

If there is remorse for the cruelty she showed Duncan, it is completely subconscious, and only hinted at in her tormented sleep.

However, even in her waking life the old strength is broken and she dies in her sleep.

Lady Macbeth puts her husband before herself, tries to kill her own better nature for his sake, and finds that the cost has been too great.

Love, rather than ambition, is the centre of her world. Macbeth promises her greatness, but it is his greatness that she is more concerned about.

She knows that deep down Macbeth wants to be King, and she sets about fulfilling that need in him by whatever means necessary. To do so she must find resources of cruelty which are foreign to her nature, and so she calls on the dark spirits. She knows that unless she can stop the pity and tenderness within her, Macbeth will never be king.

She must act a part for herself and Macbeth. She tries taunting, coaxing and flattering him, using his love for her (and hers for him) as a weapon. As a desperate resort she says that she would rather kill her own baby than break her word as Macbeth has done when he announces that he cannot commit the murder after all. Macbeth, sensing what this must cost a woman who is usually tender, is shamed. Lady Macbeth nerves herself for the ordeal with alcohol. She has doubts about Macbeth’s resolve, but she knows that she would be unable to commit the murder herself and, terrified, she awaits the outcome.

When Macbeth returns from the deed, she must control any horror that she feels, because he is so close to collapse and needs her support, her realism and her calmness. She coaxes and rebukes him, trying to hold him together. Perhaps she finds smearing the guards with Duncan’s blood hateful, but it has to be done for Macbeth’s safety as well as her own. She must keep being strong, or all will be lost.

When Duncan’s murder is discovered she is a poor actress compared with Macbeth, who gives full vent to a pretended grief. When Macbeth reveals his cold blooded murder of the guards, and goes on to describe the scene of the crime in detail, she faints, it is too much for her. Macbeth, the husband she thought ‘too full of the milk of human kindness’, has committed two more murders without hesitation and already he is changed by the deed.

Macbeth’s readiness to kill is confirmed in his plans against Banquo and Fleance. If Lady Macbeth suspects, she tries to persuade him against it. But Macbeth now thinks he knows best and does not confide his plans.

Perhaps he sees how troubled she is, and wishes to spare her further knowledge. He is now strong enough to act alone. But still she seeks to comfort him, and perhaps to save him from himself as well.

For herself she seeks no comfort, even though her sickness is growing and, despairing, she almost longs for death.

Being queen has not made her happy. The old love between her and Macbeth is now complicated by new pressures, and perhaps she feels that they are growing apart.

She saves him at the banquet by calling up every ounce of strength left in her, and the effort leaves her drained. She can now see the ruin of their hopes and, when Macbeth speaks of his ‘dark and deep desires’, his affinity with evil, and his determination to suppress all opposition, she knows that he is lost to her and their love can never be the same again. They are each quite alone, she knows that she cannot go with him further down this bloody path.

Deeply anguished, Lady Macbeth acts out her grief and guilt in her sleep, going over and over the deed that killed their innocence and destroyed their marriage. She is appalled by the horror of the murder, the guilt can never be washed away. And, although she longs for innocence again, she cannot confess her crimes and seek forgiveness (and so die ‘holily’) because to do so would betray her husband.

But Lady Macbeth cannot live with herself and her guilt any longer either so takes the only available course and ends her own life.

There were no last words with Macbeth, no final closing of the gap that had grown between them. She died without that comfort. The caring, tormented Lady Macbeth can be a courageous and tragic figure just as her husband Macbeth can be.

 

Key Concepts of the Philosophy of Plato

There were philosophers before Plato but they mostly served as tutors for children of the rich. Plato on the other hand, decided to follow a strange semi-homeless man named Socrates around as he annoyed people with a battery of questions that were carefully designed to reveal that they didn’t know what they were talking about. His parents weren’t very happy about this decision, as you can imagine, but he would be responsible for creating the foundation of philosophical thought as we now know it. Plato was the first to ask many of the questions that philosophers would be obsessed with for the next couple thousand years. What follows is the main points of Plato’s philosophy put simply.

Plato and Socrates

It is difficult to talk about Plato without talking about Socrates and it is difficult to talk about Socrates without talking about Plato. Socrates was Plato’s teacher and he appears as the protagonist of Plato’s early dialogues and his most famous work The Republic. Socrates never wrote anything down and so a lot of our perception of who he was and what he thought comes from Plato. What we know of Socrates is mostly as a literary character. Since Plato wrote all of his early philosophical works as dialogues, we get to see a version of Socrates brought to life but it is Plato’s version.

The legend about Socrates goes that the Oracle of Delphi proclaimed him the wisest man in all of Athens. Confused by this, Socrates went around and talked to all the men who he thought were wiser than he was. After talking to them and questioning them he found that their beliefs were full of contradictions and when he pointed this out to them they became upset. Afterwards, he came away with the belief that the oracle had been right. Even though Socrates was convinced that he knew nothing he was indeed the wisest man in Athens because he “knew that he did not know.”

This is the beginning of what we now call Socratic irony. Socrates established the role of the philosopher to question everything. Plato’s early dialogues all feature Socrates engaged in debate with other characters on a number of issues. Because he constantly questioned the values of society, criticized politicians and proposed ideas that made the establishment nervous he was finally put on trial for corrupting the youth and for not worshipping the correct Gods. Plato’s dialogue The Apology portrays Socrates defending himself against the accusations of the state. After being sentenced he willingly drank hemlock saying, “I do not fear death.”

The early dialogues by Plato are essentially his attempt to explore the philosophical views of Socrates, though we cannot be sure how much he actually deviated from them. With The Republic, Plato struck out on his own philosophical territory, and while it still has a literary structure with Socrates as our hero, we are seeing a systematic philosophy start to take hold for the first time.

Plato’s Ethics

Anybody who is interested in ethics should read The Republic. While the work touches on the ideas of Plato’s metaphysics, aesthetics and epistemology, it is essentially a work of ethical and political philosophy. The question that Socrates asks at the beginning is “what is justice?” and the discussion takes us on a fascinating journey. Early in the book Socrates encounters the character of Thrasymachus who insists that justice is the interest of the stronger. This was a common viewpoint in ancient Greece. This was a society that valued strength above everything else and it was Thrasymachus who held the view that it was acceptable to dominate others, lie, cheat and steal if one of strong enough to get away with it. The question that this brings up is “why should one be just?” If being ethical led to a happier life then there would be no problem in knowing what to do but while Socrates rejects this definition of justice by getting Thrasymachus to contradict himself he still must define justice and try to justify why it is valuable in itself, not just as a means to an end.

A story we are given to illustrate this is the ring of Gyges. Gyges is given a ring that makes him invisible and the story is used to argue that no man would be just if he could commit unjust acts without being caught or punished.

Explaining Plato’s ideas on ethics is very difficult and The Republic is a complex book so I will try to form the basics of what is argued without losing too much of the essentials and not simplifying so much that I will be misrepresenting the ideas. Plato’s ethics could be best described as Virtue Ethics, a philosophical school of thought that is most often associated with Plato’s student Aristotle. What Virtue Ethics states is that the reasoning of what is moral is determined by the person (moral agent) rather than by rules or consequences.

In Plato’s version of this he contends that the human soul is divided into three parts. These parts are reason, spirit and appetite. Exactly what these mean is under a lot of debate by different philosophers and at times it doesn’t seem as if Plato has a very clear sense of what they mean. He argues that the human soul must have at least two parts in order to explain why we have so many psychological conflicts. It could be seen that reason is our thinking ability to judge, spirit our emotional ability to feel empathy and appetite our desires but you will always have people who read the book and see it differently. The point for Plato however, is that we need to balance these three parts of our souls in order to make good ethical choices. The whole point of being moral is to balance these three parts of us to keep us healthy and sane. Letting one take too much control of our minds is not good for us and leads to bad decisions.

Plato’s Political Philosophy

What is often mentioned about Plato is his dislike of Democracy and the fact that he considered it “mob rule.” This was not an unnatural position for him to take since it was the Democratic government of Athens that executed Socrates. However, since that government did not allow women to vote and had a number of slaves, to call Athens an ideal Democratic state would be an absurd statement by most people’s standards. Many commentators have seen Plato’s idea of the ideal government to be fascist. His defenders point out that while it may seem that way to us today we must look at it in historical context. Plato was thinking of his ideal government as a city state and this is a relatively small area where those who did not approve of the government could move to another city state that they found less objectionable.

Describing Plato’s ideal city in great detail would be very lengthy but his idea of the perfect society is radically communitarian where every person works for the whole of society. Private families no longer exist and the social mobility of women is greatly increased because they are no longer expected to simply play the role of wife and mother. Plato gives his central government even enough power to censor all artists. Plato contends that artists portray a copy of reality that deceives those who experience it. He goes into great detail about what art would and would not be acceptable in his new society and such passages do not do well to defend him against those claims of fascism.

This is an interesting stance since Plato’s government is based on a lie in itself. It is specifically called “the noble lie” or “myth of the metals.” What this myth entails is that each citizen will be told that they are destined to a certain station at birth and their soul is matched with a corresponding metal. This is a lie that is presented to citizens in order to keep social order and assure that everybody stays within their position of society. At the top of the order are the “philosopher kings” that Plato feels are the only ones wise enough to rule over the city. It is worth noting that though he placed them at the top of the hierarchy he gave them little monetary reward for their status. Wealth was always distributed within Plato’s society.

Plato, Epistemology and Metaphysics

Another famous myth that is associated with Plato is The Allegory of the Cave. Luckily I do not have to explain this one.

 The allegory has been studied tirelessly so giving my interpretation would just be one of many.  It is essentially about the process of becoming a philosopher and looking beyond the surface of things.  It is also worth noting that Plato was distrustful of the senses when it came to the ability to preceive knowledge.  Plato knew that our senses could be fooled and he placed an emphasis on our abilities to think and reason than knowledge gained from the study of the physical world.

This leads us to another famous metaphysical idea, The Theory of the Forms.  Plato was facinated by the problems of universals.  An example would be as if I told you I had a dog.  If I told you this you might picture a poodle or you might picture a mastiff or a chow or a border collie.  These are all dogs yet each one is so different in its particulars.  What makes a dog have its essential “dogness”? 

Plato came up with the idea that all physical manifestations of things are imperfect.  An ideal form of the thing could never exist in the physical world but it could exist in in a higher reality.  This concept was extremely influencial on medieval religious thinkers who found its literal idealism irresistable.  While it still remains an interesting idea to discuss, modern philosophers have long disgarded it as a path to any useful knowledge.    

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XVIII

The speaker of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XVIII continues to research and study the entire history of revelation of Christian theory. He employs the metaphor of the bride of Christ (“spouse”), often referred to in Christian lore, as Christ’s church.

After establishing that controlling metaphor of husband and wife for Christ and His church, the speaker then puts both questions and commands to the Lord Savior. The reader will remember that this speaker is still seeking his own salvation as he gathers all the information he might need to accept the notion that he, in fact, can be forgiven his earlier sins of fornication and debauchery arising from the sex urge.

Holy Sonnet XVIII

Show me, dear Christ, Thy spouse so bright and clear.

What! is it she which on the other shore

Goes richly painted? or which, robbed and tore,

Laments and mourns in Germany and here?

Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?

Is she self-truth, and errs? now new, now outwore?

Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore

On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?

Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights

First travel we to seek, and then make love?

Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,

And let mine amorous soul court thy mild dove,

Who is most true and pleasing to thee then

When she is embraced and open to most men.

The controlling metaphor in this sonnet features the relationship between a husband (Christ) and a wife (Christ’s church of teachings and followers).

First Quatrain: The Nature of Christ’s Teachings and His Church

Show me, dear Christ, Thy spouse so bright and clear.

What! is it she which on the other shore

Goes richly painted? or which, robbed and tore,

Laments and mourns in Germany and here?

In Christian lore, the “bride” of Christ, or “spouse,” as Donne here mentions, is often interpreted as the church or more generally the entire following which Jesus Christ gathered with his teachings. Those who follow the teachings of Christianity may metaphorically be considered the “spouse” or “bride” of Christ. The closeness implied by the term, “spouse,” attaches to the closeness of Christ’s teachings and their followers, or Christians.

In Holy Sonnet XVIII, the speaker addresses the Christ commanding the Lord Savior to reveal to him the nature and essence of his teachings. The speaker is searching for the results that following those teachings brings to the devotees who follow them. The speaker calls those teachings, “so bright and clear.”

But then the speaker hints that they have not apparently been so clear to many others in the world. For example, the speaker wonders if it is actually the true church, that is, teachings of the Christ that has received lush praise and attention or can it be that that church and teachings have, instead, been plundered, disfigured, and thus bemoans its station in places like “Germany ” as well as England.

Second Quatrain: Speculation, Acceptance, and Reliance

Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?

Is she self-truth, and errs? now new, now outwore?

Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore

On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?

The speaker continues to speculate about the acceptance of Christ’s teachings by asking if those teachings have remained dormant for a millennium or if they just seem to suddenly appear out of the blue. The speaker also wants to know if Christ’s tenants are self-evident and contain both truth and errors. He also asks if they are both “new” and worn-out.

The speaker also seeks knowledge regarding the past, present, future appearance of those teachings as well as where they may appear. He asks if they (“she”) will appear on one hill, or on seven hills, or on no hill. The allusion to seven hills is likely motivated by the lines in Revelation 17:9: “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” But the speaker leaves open the possibility that as those teachings emerge again, no hill may be involved.

Third Quatrain: A Clear Understanding of the Church

Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights

First travel we to seek, and then make love?

Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,

And let mine amorous soul court thy mild dove,

The speaker then offers a rather adventurous and colorful speciation that the church (Christ’s teachings) may simply reside in the hearts and minds of humankind, or they may, like traveling “knights,” go off on an adventure and then return to “make love.” It is not likely that the speaker is referencing sexual congress by the phrase “make love”; more likely he means literally herald an atmosphere in which love, affection, and compassion may thrive.

The speaker then demands of Christ that He make perfectly clear and understandable to him the nature and essence of that church (teachings), so the speaker can with comprehension and determination pursue the teachings which will give him grace, absolve his sins, and afford him ultimate rest for his soul.

The Couplet: Understanding, Pleasing to the Lord

Who is most true and pleasing to thee then

When she is embraced and open to most men.

The speaker then offers the reasoning that has prompted his speculation and final commands. He intuits that having His teachings understood and then followed will be “pleasing” to the Lord. Having His guidance followed and “embraced” by “most men” will offer not only true leadership on the spiritual path to the followers but will also remains a peaceful and pleasurable thought for the Lord Christ to hold in His memory.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XVII

As the speaker in John Donne’s Holy Sonnets progresses toward his goal of union with the Divine Reality, he poses many questions and examines many possible solutions to his philosophical conundrum. His physical body is rapidly deteriorating, and he knows he has little time to muse on the issues that seem to block his soul from his goal of soul-realization.

The speaker continues to fashion his little dramas that depict his vigorous examination of all he knows and wishes to learn. By reflecting back to his beloved wife’s influence, the speaker is then reminded of how the Heavenly Father seeks His children just as His children seek their Heavenly Father.

Holy Sonnet XVII

Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt

To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,

And her soul early into heaven ravishèd,

Wholly on heavenly things my mind is set.

Here the admiring her my mind did whet

To seek Thee, God; so streams do show the head;

But though I have found Thee, and Thou my thirst hast fed,

A holy thirsty dropsy melts me yet.

But why should I beg more love, whenas Thou

Dost woo my soul, for hers offering all Thine:

And dost not only fear lest I allow

My love to saints and angels, things divine,

But in Thy tender jealousy dost doubt

Lest the world, flesh, yea, devil put Thee out.

Holy Sonnet XVII finds the speaker examining his love for his late wife as the motivation for seeking the will of his Heavenly Father.

First Quatrain: Remembering His Beloved Wife

Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt

To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,

And her soul early into heaven ravishèd,

Wholly on heavenly things my mind is set.

Addressing the Beloved Creator, the speaker refers to his wife, who preceded him in death. He described her leaving her physical encasement as paying “her last debt.” And she had paid in full to “Nature” as well as her own self, leaving the speaker at a loss and feeling that his “good is dead.”

The speaker reports that she left her body while still young, and that loss has motivated the speaker to seek “heavenly things,” thus he contends that his “mind is set” “wholly on those things divine.

Readers will have become aware that the speaker is indeed focused on the Divine Reality and all of Its qualities and features as he fashions his little dramas of study and discovery. His intensity has grown as he is concerned for his own soul, which he intuits will be leaving its physical encasement soon.

Second Quatrain: God Motivation

Here the admiring her my mind did whet

To seek Thee, God; so streams do show the head;

But though I have found Thee, and Thou my thirst hast fed,

A holy thirsty dropsy melts me yet.

The speaker then reveals that it was, in fact, his beloved wife, particularly his admiration of her, that first sharpened his desire to become united with the Over-Soul. He colorfully compares his flowing into Reality awareness to “streams” that reveal their source.

Nevertheless, the speaker, despite the fact that he has continued his journey to soul-awareness, realizes that the Ultimate Reality has continued to feed “his thirst.” The speaker, however, has maintained an unfortunate consternation regarding this ultimate destination. No doubt, he is once again reminded of his earlier unholy lapses into physicality.

Third Quatrain: Questioning the Divine Beloved

But why should I beg more love, whenas Thou

Dost woo my soul, for hers offering all Thine:

And dost not only fear lest I allow

My love to saints and angels, things divine,

The speaker then poses a question to his Beloved Divine, seeking to know why he continues to feel the need of seeking “more love.” He intuits that he is being sought by the Divine, even as he seeks union with the Divine. Plus he knows that the suffering experienced by his late, beloved wife has been consumed in the fires of Divine Love.

The speaker now suspects that his Divine Creator may detect in him a weakening of his love as he spreads that love to “saints and angels” and other “things divine.” By assigning such discrimination to the Ultimate Reality, the speaker can reflect on his own level of fear that may still be inhibiting his progress on the spiritual path.

The Couplet: What Worldly Doubt Extinguishes

But in Thy tender jealousy dost doubt

Lest the world, flesh, yea, devil put Thee out.

Not only does a slight fear of unconcentrated Divine affection reside in him, but also there seems to exist a level of “tender jealousy” along with some “doubt” that might cause the Blessed Creator to fail to appear before the speaker to consummate the ultimate unity.

The speaker desires above all else to be united with his Divine Creator. The speaker, therefore, examines every thought and feeling that arises in him. He questions his Creator as an earthly son would question his earthly father because he knows he still has much to learn and little time in which to learn it.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XIV

“Three-person’d God” refers to the Holy Trinity. The reality of God can be understood as a unified trinity: 1. There is God outside of Creation, residing in the vibrationless realm; 2. There is God within Creation, Whose only reflection exists as the Christ-Consciousness; 3. There is God as the vibratory force itself. These three qualities are expressed in Christianity as “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and in Hinduism as “Sat-Tat-Aum.”

The speaker in this widely anthologized sonnet continues to muse about the status of his soul. He knows that he is near death, and he desires to mitigate as many of his former sins as possible in order for his post-death situation to herald a pleasant reality.

Holy Sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you

As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,

Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,

But am betroth’d unto your enemy;

Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The speaker is continuing his struggle for eternal peace and tranquility after passing a rather chaotic existence in his younger days. He regrets his many transgression and seeks lasting forgiveness from his Creator.

First Quatrain: Knocking at the Heart’s Door

Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you

As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

The speaker addresses his Creator-Father as the Holy Trinity; he makes this all-inclusive address, in order to intensify his request. Thus he is appealing to each quality (or “person”) of the Trinity or “three-person’d God.”

The speaker then proclaims that thus far his beloved Father has been attempting to gain his child’s attention by knocking at the door of his heart. But the speaker now begs for the Blessed Lord to knock harder, even “batter” down that door, if necessary.

The speaker wishes to become new, and he believes his current situation must be utterly destroyed in order for that newness to take hold. He colorfully implores his Creator-God to shatter his being—”break, blow, burn”—so that this poor child may become “new.”

Second Quatrain: A Devastated, Conquered Town

I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,

Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.

The speaker then colorfully likens himself to a town that has “usurp’d.” That conquerered town thus owes allegiance to its captors. He works hard at allowing the Lord to usurp him but still he does not find that he is successful.

The speaker takes all the blame on himself that he has not been completely dominated by God, Whom he adores but still remains too “weak or untrue” to be able to prove that deep love and affection.

Third Quatrain: Confession of Divine Love

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,

But am betroth’d unto your enemy;

Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Then the speaker openly confesses his love—”dearly I love you”—and would gladly be loved. But the speaker then shockingly admits that he is still too closely allied with “your enemy.” Of course, the speaker fights this enemy non-stop. This satanic force has driven the speaker to commit his unspeakable, adulterous acts that now stifle his spiritual progress.

The speaker pleads again for his Lord to separate Himself from the speaker but then “take me to you.” He begs to be imprisoned by the Lord. His exaggerated effusions continue to reveal the excited state from which the speaker reports. He feels that his desire to taken into the Lord’s possession must first be preceded by utter departure from the Presence.

The Couplet: To Become New

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The speaker then utters the truth that he shall never “be free” or ever find purity without the intersession of his Creator. He begs to be changed in heart and mind, so that his perfect soul qualities may blossom forth.

The speaker, therefore, continues to entreat his Divine Beloved to make him new. Because he believes that such an act requires a catastrophic act to accomplish, he is begging that he be utterly destroyed and then recreated by his Divine Beloved Creator, Who fathers all His children in His own image.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XIII

The speaker in this holy sonnet begins with a profound speculation regarding the end of the world, an exaggeration representing his own demise. He then begins his musing regarding the nature of forgiveness, particularly that nature of the Christian forgiveness originating from Jesus Christ’s effusion on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” (Luke 23:34 KJV)

Holy Sonnet XIII

What if this present were the world’s last night?

Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,

The picture of Christ crucified, and tell

Whether His countenance can thee affright.

Tears in His eyes quench the amazing light;

Blood fills his frowns, which from His pierced head fell;

And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell,

Which pray’d forgiveness for His foes’ fierce spite?

No, no; but as in my idolatry

I said to all my profane mistresses,

Beauty of pity, foulness only is

A sign of rigour; so I say to thee,

To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assign’d;

This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.

The speaker again muses on his own soul status after it leaves its physical encasement.

First Quatrain: What if the World Ends Now?

What if this present were the world’s last night?

Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,

The picture of Christ crucified, and tell

Whether His countenance can thee affright.

The speaker begins by speculating about the termination of the world. He is addressing his own soul, first with a question and then a command. He instructs his soul to observe the image it holds of the Blessed Lord Christ upon the cross to determine if the face of that crucified holy savior can cause fear in him.

The speaker is attempting to ascertain his own feelings and thoughts at time of his own death. By exaggerating his own terminus with that of the world, he engages the profundity involved in the holy act of the soul leaving its physical encasement.

Second Quatrain: The Visage of Christ

Tears in His eyes quench the amazing light;

Blood fills his frowns, which from His pierced head fell;

And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell,

Which pray’d forgiveness for His foes’ fierce spite?

The speaking then appears to be taking his imagery from a painting of the crucified Christ or more likely he has internalized that image that many paintings have been known to capture. Thus, the speaker remarks that Christ’s eyes, filled with tears from his physical agony and his pity for the world are so strong as to put out the “amazing light” that blazes across the scene.

The speaker then returns to the common thread of his own judgment by the Blessed Lord, as the former wonders if the Holy One, Who has forgiven even those who are guilty of crucifying Him, could possibly send this lowly speaker of much lesser sins “unto hell.”

This speaker remains ever concerned for his soul, fearing his earlier misdeeds might have already sealed his postmortem fate.

Third Quatrain: A Comparison

No, no; but as in my idolatry

I said to all my profane mistresses,

Beauty of pity, foulness only is

A sign of rigour; so I say to thee,

The speaker decides doubly in the negative; then he adds a proviso. He flashes back to his days “in [his] idolatry,” at a time when he would tell his “profane mistresses” about how he reckoned it to be a sign of energy and strength to see the “beauty” in “pity” and “foulness.”

The speaker then continues with the comparison as he had said to those mistresses he is now averring to “wicked spirits,” and he concludes his thought in the couplet.

The Couplet: The Face of Forgiveness

To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assign’d;

This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.

To those “wicked spirits” the speaker now declaims that only ugliness adorns the wicked. Because Christ remains ever in a “beauteous form,” the Blessed One will always take pity on His Father’s children.

Thus the speaker has again found consolation in his analysis of the relationship between Christ and himself. The speaker would also aver that his own physical encasement retains the beauty of the Father, after Whose image he is gloriously created.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet VI

As his final moments draw him closer to death, the speaker likens his life to a play, and he is in the “last scene.” He feels that he has moved speedily through his God-directed journey. His greatest wish, the goal that he constantly engages, is to be delivered from the ravages of sin that have caused his body to writhe in physical pain, and his mind to remain concentrated on a deep melancholy.

The speaker demonstrates in each sonnet that his faith is deep and strong. He relies upon God now more than he has ever before done. And his active, creative mind fashions his little dramas that hold his speculations regarding his last moments as well as his likely journey that will continue after his soul has left its miserable physical encasement.

Holy Sonnet VI

This is my play’s last scene ; here heavens appoint

My pilgrimage’s last mile ; and my race

Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace;

My span’s last inch, my minute’s latest point;

And gluttonous Death will instantly unjoint

My body and soul, and I shall sleep a space;

But my ever-waking part shall see that face,

Whose fear already shakes my every joint.

Then, as my soul to heaven her first seat takes flight,

And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,

So fall my sins, that all may have their right,

To where they’re bred and would press me to hell.

Impute me righteous, thus purged of evil,

For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.

The speaker in John Donne’s Holy Sonnet VI now finds himself very close to leaving his physical body. He speculates about the journey he will take up, after death has led his soul out of its physical encasement.

First Quatrain: The Final Moments of Life

This is my play’s last scene ; here heavens appoint

My pilgrimage’s last mile ; and my race

Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace;

My span’s last inch, my minute’s latest point;

Engaging a theatre metaphor which then turns to a racing metaphor, the speaker now reports that his last moments on earth have arrived. His journey continues to be guided by the Heavenly Father God, his Creator, Who directs his every movement and thought. The speaker implies that his life has gone by speedily, even though he has too often spent his time “idly.” Thus he finds himself now facing the “last pace” of the race he has been running: not only his last pace but also his last “inch” while he remains now at the pinnacle of his last minute.

John Donne actually preached what has been considered his own funeral sermon titled aptly, “Death’s Duel.” Thus, that he would have taken up a similar drama in the Holy Sonnets is hardly surprising. The intensity of the sonnet speaker grows throughout the sequence as the speaker grows closer to that fated day of leaving the physical body and the physical level of existence.

Second Quatrain: Hungry Death Approaches

And gluttonous Death will instantly unjoint

My body and soul, and I shall sleep a space;

But my ever-waking part shall see that face,

Whose fear already shakes my every joint.

The speaker now refers to “gluttonous Death,” the entity that will cause the uncoupling of his body from his soul. He then speculates that he will “sleep” for a while; the soul seems to pause after leaving the cage of the body, a state that might be thought of metaphorically as “sleep.”

Then after that brief pause, although his body will be gone, his all-knowing, “ever-waking part,” that is, his soul will be able to sense God’s face. His “fear” or respect and awe for his Creator is already causing him to tremble in anticipation of meeting his Creator Father.

Third Quatrain: Leaving All Sins

Then, as my soul to heaven her first seat takes flight,

And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,

So fall my sins, that all may have their right,

To where they’re bred and would press me to hell.

The speaker then continues to speculate that while his soul is resting in heaven, his body that was born of the earth will dwell “in the earth.” And his sins will then fall back to where they originated, where they may continue to possess a force but no longer are capable of ensnaring the speaker.

The strong force that results from sense awareness leads the mind to all sorts of activities that may later result in physical and mental disharmonies, including physical illness and not less mental illness. Where that force originates remains a blind alley, but the play between the senses apparatuses, the nerves, and the brain continues as long as the soul remains in a physical, hide-bound body.

Those sense trammels are ultimately responsible for all of the sin that exists on the physical level or earth-level of existence. And those same trammels are responsible for all of the suicides that are simply an attempt to find relief from the agony brought on by the over-indulgences through the senses.

The Couplet: Delivered from Evil

Impute me righteous, thus purged of evil,

For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.

The speaker then commands the Undeclared Force to infuse him with righteousness and deliver him from evil. He insists that his leaving this world is for the sake of abandoning the flesh and the devil. He is certain that he will be washed clean of those sins and thus be able to partake of the purity waiting for him on the higher planes of existence. Evil, sin, and the devil belong to the earth plane. This speaker’s heart, mind, and soul are now trained on the higher planes of existence where evil no longer has sway.

Death, No Guarantee of Purity

While this speaker seems to assume that his dying will automatically deliver him from his sins and into the arms of the Almighty, his soul-force remains aware that its karmic past may still insist that he return to an earth-like planet to continue its journey toward perfect sinlessness and into God-unity and self-realization.

As a born Catholic and later an Anglican minister, John Donne likely believed strongly that simply dying would, in fact, deliver him from all the sins he had committed while on earth. And although the law of karma determines that entry of the soul into heaven, the strong faith of the individual while incarnate also plays a significant role, one that can never be determined or even surmised by third parties, thus the command, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1 KJV).

The speaker in Donne’s sonnets is a highly educated individual whose faith is rock-solid. He calls upon his Beloved Creator for all eventualities of his life; thus the Holy Sonnets exude that strong faith and should be understood as one man’s attempt to explore his life and his mind as he peculates about his existence beyond the grave.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet VIII

This speaker is using a set of logical consequences and circumstances to urge himself to rely solely on God. He accepts certain affects to reflect truth, and he believes that only truth should guide the soul on its journey back to its Creator Divine.

Holy Sonnet VIII

If faithful souls be alike glorified

As angels, then my father’s soul doth see,

And adds this even to full felicity,

That valiantly I hell’s wide mouth o’erstride.

But if our minds to these souls be descried

By circumstances, and by signs that be

Apparent in us not immediately,

How shall my mind’s white truth by them be tried?

They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,

And vile blasphemous conjurers to call

On Jesus’ name, and pharisaical

Dissemblers feign devotion. Then turn,

O pensive soul, to God, for He knows best

Thy grief, for He put it into my breast.

While addressing his own soul, the speaker reasons that reliance solely on his Divine Creator can lead him in the direction he knows he is destined to travel.

First Quatrain: Employing Faith

If faithful souls be alike glorified

As angels, then my father’s soul doth see,

And adds this even to full felicity,

That valiantly I hell’s wide mouth o’erstride.

The speaker explores the phenomenon of true faith vs fake dissembling. He reasons that if true faith has the power to glorify each individual soul to the status of angels, then his Heavenly Father, of course, knows and further will attribute to his own soul the ability to transcend Hell on his way back to unification with the Divine Reality. His status will rise to “full felicity,” as he even “valiantly” overcomes “hell’s wide mouth.”

The fact that Hell has a “wide mouth” makes it easier for souls to succumb to its pull. The old notion that it is easier to be bad than good, harder to choose the right path than the wrong path, applies to this situation. Hell’s wide mouth would swallow us all, were we to allow ourselves to come near its opening.

The speaker then continues to reason, to pray, and worship all good and holy things in order to rise above the need to spend any time in Hell. He finds that although the soul’s faith in its Creator is the only act necessary, the path leading to that ultimate awareness can be long and winding.

Second Quatrain: The Mind and Delusion

But if our minds to these souls be descried

By circumstances, and by signs that be

Apparent in us not immediately,

How shall my mind’s white truth by them be tried?

On the other hand, the speaker knows that the mind can lend itself easily to delusion, causing the soul to be hemmed round by “circumstances.” There also may be indications of things that humankind cannot quickly perceive.

The speaker thus wonders how he can find the ultimate truth through such a mind that allows all manner of folly, sin, and illusion to cloud it. He thus questions how his mind can come to “white truth” if the mind darting hither and yon keeps his path obstructed by debris of canceled thoughts, oblivious obstruction, and myriad dissatisfactions.

Third Quatrain: Appalling Hypocrisy

They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,

And vile blasphemous conjurers to call

On Jesus’ name, and pharisaical

Dissemblers feign devotion. Then turn,

The speaker continues elucidating acts that “our minds” are wont to commit: the mind takes in all manner of evil events that continually parade through the lives of humanity. Those minds behold “Idolatrous lovers” and find cause to become melancholy at that sight. Those who hypocritically call on the name of the Lord burn ugly images into the mind, as “pharisaical / Dissemblers feign devotion.”

The speaker is appalled by such dissembling; thus he vehemently warns himself against such vain activity. His disdain for evil action nevertheless requires him not to avoid them but instead to explore their nature in order to understand why he is avoiding and disdaining. The speaker then begins his command to his own soul, a command which he concludes in the couplet. To add further emphasis to his final thought, the speaker of these sonnets often employs that technique of beginning the line in the second quatrain and then finishing the thought in the couplet.

The Couplet: Reliance on the Creator

O pensive soul, to God, for He knows best

Thy grief, for He put it into my breast.

The speaker thus is commanding his own soul to turn to God. He calls his soul “pensive,” which literally refers to the mind, thus his address to the soul becomes metaphorical. But he manages to include all three bodily encasements in his command: the physical body, in whose “breast” he claims God has instilled his grief, the mental body, which account for the soul becomeing “pensive,” and the soul itself which then remains both figurative and literal.

The speaker is aware that God includes the totality of all creation. The speaker’s ultimate reasoning thus indicates a pantheistic point of view, otherwise the notion that a compassionate Creator would instill grief in the breast of his child would appear to be grossly non-compassionate as well as unfair.

During the historical period that anti-Catholicism was gaining steam in England, John Donne was born to a wealthy Catholic family on June 19, 1572. John’s father, John Donne, Sr., was a prosperous iron worker. His mother was related to Sir Thomas More; her father was the playwright, John Heywood. The junior Donne’s father died in 1576, when the future poet was only four years old, leaving not only the mother and son but two other children that the mother then struggled to raise.

When John was 11 years old, he and his younger brother Henry began school at Hart Hall at Oxford University. John Donne continued to study at Hart Hall for three years, and he then enrolled at Cambridge University. Donne refused to take the mandated supremacy oath that declared the King (Henry VIII) as head of the church, a state of affairs abominable to devout Catholics. Because of this refusal, Donne was not allowed to graduate. He then studied law through a membership at Thavies Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The influence of the Jesuits remained with Donne throughout his student days.

A Question of Faith

Donne began to question his Catholicism after his brother Henry died in prison. The brother had been arrested and sent to prison for aiding a Catholic priest. Donne’s first collection of poems titled Satires addresses the issue of the efficacy of faith. During the same period, he composed his love/lust poems, Songs and Sonnets, from which many of his most widely anthologized poems are taken; for example, “The Apparition,” “The Flea,” and “The Indifferent.”

John Donne, going by the moniker of “Jack,” spent a chunk of his youth, and a healthy portion of an inherited fortune, on travel and womanizing. He traveled with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex on a naval expedition to Cádiz, Spain. He later traveled with another expedition to the Azores, which inspired his work, “The Calm.” After returning to England, Donne accepted a position as private secretary to Thomas Egerton, whose station was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

Marriage to Anne More

In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, who was but 17 years old at the time. This marriage effectively ended Donne’s career in government positions. The girl’s father conspired to have Donne thrown in prison along with Donne’s fellow compatriots who assisted Donne in keeping secret his courtship with Anne. After losing his job, Donne remained unemployed for about a decade, causing a struggle with poverty for his family, which ultimately grew to include twelve children.

Donne had renounced his Catholic faith, and he was persuaded to enter the ministry under James I, after having achieved a doctorate of divinity from Lincoln’s Inn and Cambridge. Although he had practiced law for several years, his family remained living at the substance level. Taking the position of Royal Chaplain, it seemed that life for the Donne’s was improving, but then Anne died on August 15, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child.

Poems of Faith

For Donne’s poetry, his wife’s death exerted a strong influence. He then began to write his poems of faith, collected in The Holy Sonnets, including Hymn to God the Father,” “Batter my heart, three-person’d God,” and “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee,” three of the most widely anthologized holy sonnets.

Donne also composed a collection of private meditations, published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This collection features”Meditation 17,” from which his most famous quotations have been taken, such as “No man is an island” as well as “Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee.”

In 1624, Donne was assigned to serve as vicar of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West,and he continued to serve as a minister until his death on March 31, 1631. Interestingly, it has been thought that he preached his own funeral sermon, “Death’s Duel,” only a few weeks before his death.

Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press: Social & Cultural Impact

Many events in human history are of great importance for the way we live today. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the “movable type” printing press is one of the most important.

It is possible that without it there would have been no Renaissance, no Industrial Revolution, no Technological Revolution and no modern, western Democracy. In other words – no modern world!

While primitive forms of printing had been invented a long time before in ancient China and good quality paper had been available for some time in Europe (modern America still hadn’t been invented!) most books were still copied out by hand in what was a painstaking and time-consuming labor.

For this reason, very few books were made, and those that were produced were extremely valuable objects that belonged either to the Church or other powerful institutions.

Most people couldn’t read – what would have been the point of learning? – and knowledge was largely limited to what a person saw, heard and experienced in their own lifetime and in their own town or village.

Gutenberg’s invention of the movable type printing press meant that books could be produced in greater numbers and more quickly and cheaply than ever before. This led to a huge social and cultural revolution the repercussions of which are still seen and felt today. It was the internet of its day!

Nobody knows exactly what it was that inspired Gutenberg to make his first movable type printing press. By profession he was a goldsmith.

He was very interested in all kinds of inventions and had a lively and enquiring mind. He was also quite wealthy and so had the resources available to realize many of his ideas.

According to legend the idea for the movable type printing press came to him “like a ray of light” in the year 1439. However, legends do make such claims and usually arise in the absence of solid information.

It is more likely that he had been mulling over the problem for some time before the moment of hard-won inspiration struck!

We do know that by 1440 he was busy working on several “prototypes” of the movable type printing press – which again suggests that the solution he came up with was the result of a lot of work and experimentation rather than a sudden flash of inspiration.

A “prototype” is an experimental model or attempt at something before arriving at the finalized version.

At that time he was living in Strasbourg. There, in his workshop, he started using a mixture of older technologies, including something called “the screw press” and a new idea of his own: molded type setting.

Molded type setting involved making a mold for each letter character which could be re-used. In this way he was able to produce a lot of individual letters which could be placed within a wooden frame to create the layout of the page to be printed.

This was a step in the right direction and while much faster than hand copying, it still took up a lot of time as each new set of pages had to be made up from scratch and inked by hand. Also, if the text was to be decorated or colored, then that still had to be done in the old way, painting onto the printed sheet by hand just as the illuminated manuscripts of the monastic scriptorium had been done.

It was, in the end, his knowledge of working and casting in metal which gave him the last refinement that he was looking for.

Gutenberg had the idea that a series of characters could be cast in brass. These characters would be durable and easy to set. They could be used again and again, being reconfigured to make endless different pages. He also developed the idea of inking them using a rolling device which meant that the page settings could be inked and ready within seconds.

This was the breakthrough he had been looking for. Suddenly, he could produce many copies of a book cheaply and quickly.

This invention also meant that he could print in color as the pages could be passed a second and third and fourth time through the press to be over-printed with the color settings.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to work out which of the many surviving texts of the subsequent period were actually printed in Gutenberg’s workshop. Unlike today there were no copyright laws.

Added to that is the fact that Gutenberg never added his own name or even the date on any of his printed works!

Scholars think that among his earliest productions were a German poetic work and a grammatical textbook for students.

But he was to begin his most famous printing project in 1452. It was what is now known as The Gutenberg Bible.

The Gutenberg Bible was a tremendous undertaking.

The first edition was published in 1455 and had a print run of 180 copies. That may not seem like much by today’s standards but at the time it was a considerable run in such a short period.

The Bible had exactly 42 lines on each page and must have been very difficult to read as there was no punctuation and no indentation of paragraphs!

He financed the project himself and despite its success, the costs of initially creating the press left him deeply in debt. Later he was granted a special pension by the Archbishop Von Nassau but he never made a great deal of money from his extraordinary invention.

But his design had made a huge impression and within a few short years, there were “Gutenberg” printing presses being set up all over Europe.

The impact of the Gutenberg printing press was immeasurable. It caused nothing less than a dramatic social and cultural revolution. The sudden widespread dissemination of printed works – books, tracts, posters and papers – gave direct rise to the European Renaissance.

While Gutenberg’s famous Bible was printed in Latin, his invention of the movable type press meant that Protestant tracts and the arguments between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church which led to the Reformation could be widely disseminated.

The Reformation, which began in Germany in the early 16th century, led to the Bible being printed in the languages of the common people. Gutenberg’s invention led inevitably to the Protestant revolution, the Age of Enlightenment, the development of Modern Science and Universal Education: in other words, everything that has led to human progress and the advancement of the modern world.

I hope you have enjoyed finding out about Johannes Gutenberg and his important work as much as I have writing about it.

If you want to find out more about Johannes Gutenberg and his work on the invention of the movable type printing press, either for a school project or your own personal interest, you might like to visit the website of the Gutenberg Museum in Germany, which is available in English and has links to the best resources available, from which you can get excellent and reliable information to help you. This is the address: gutenberg-museum.de

And don’t forget that even though you are reading this on a computer screen or mobile device, without Gutenberg’s printing press your ancestors may never have learned to read and the computer would most certainly never have been invented!

“Jane Eyre” Book Discussion and Themed Orange Almond Cupcakes Recipe

★★★★★

Jane Eyre is an orphaned governess who develops romantic feelings for her employer, Mr. Rochester, a man ensconced in tragedy. Sent away to an orphanage as a child by her cruel aunt, Jane’s attachments in life have been few. At Lowood, she gains a friend whose perspectives enable Jane to reign in her anger and find beauty in the darkest situations. At nineteen, Jane contentedly finds her place at Thornfield Hall, amidst the friendship of the housekeeper and her little charge, Adele. The peace is disturbed, however, when Edward Rochester, the wealthy, woeful owner of the mansion returns. For Rochester, Jane’s kindness and naivety are a catharsis for his troubled mind, and her imagination a refreshment. Jane finally has a “full life,” until a piece of Rochester’s past shatters her dreams. Jane Eyre is one of the most tragically brilliant pieces of Gothic fiction ever written, at times satisfying everything and nothing in a whirlwind of passion and drama that will appeal to readers for all time.

  1. Jane’s first friend at Lowood, Helen Burns, had a way, even when being punished, of thinking “of something beyond her situation” How did this help her to overcome the hardships of her life? Where was it her mind would wander to? Did Jane ever learn to observe this practice?
  2. Helen also believed that “it is far better to to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you.” And “it is not violence that that best overcomes hate-nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.” How is this a completely different mentality than Jane had, and what reason did she give for believing this? Is that a common approach in our society? Would it be better if it were, or only in certain circumstances?
  3. Helen Burns observed that, “by dying young, I shall escape great sufferings. I had not qualities or talents to make my way very well in the world: I should have been continually at fault.” Is it better for some to live, and experience the great sufferings of life, or to be spared them through death? How did Helen’s death impact Jane’s life, mentality, and behavior?
  4. Was Miss Temple’s leaving Lowood an equal or greater loss to Jane, than was Helen’s death? She said about it “From the day she left I was no longer the same: with her was gone every settled feeling, every association that had made Lowood in some degree a home to me.”
  5. Why would a teacher have such a profound impact on an orphaned girl, who was shown so little kindness in life? How did that loss impact Jane’s behavior afterward? [Extra assignment:watch the newest film version answer: Why might Miss Temple, such a pivotal character in Jane Eyre’s life, have been completely removed from the film, as well as the above-mentioned speeches by Helen? How could those things have colored the film a little differently?]
  6. Jane noted, upon leaving Lowood for Thornfield, “It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, but adrift from every connection… The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it…” How did these feelings contribute to her level of attachment to her new pupil, her new coworkers, and especially to her employer? Are some of these feelings (pride, charm of adventure, and fear) part of what drives young adults and teens into certain actions, especially those who feel unconnected to a family or to society in general, and could one say that some criminals are born this way? What prevented Jane from going down such a path, though given the same opportunity again, much later, when she left Thornfield?
  7. When referencing how he first saw and met Jane, why did Mr. Rochester ask her “were you waiting for your people when you sat on that stile?” What people did he mean and why does he act and call her nicknames as if he believed she were one of the fey, and play along with her game, even though he is much older than she, and less likely to indulge in conversations about fantasy creatures? Do you imagine he ever did that with Adele? And if not, why so much with Jane?
  8. Three pictures that Jane drew were scrutinized by Mr. Rochester. What do you think inspired such imaginings, and why was he so transfixed by them? Which do you find the most intriguing, and would have liked to see? About her art, Jane admitted to Mr. Rochester that she was “tormented by the contrast between my idea and my handiwork: in each case I had imagined something which I was quite powerless to realise.” How could she have felt that way and yet create such extraordinary drawings?
  9. Mrs. Fairfax and even Jane excuse much of Rochester’s behavior, because of his great losses and struggles in life, even when they do not know what the particulars are. Yet he finds peace in Jane’s presence and personality. Why is this, when she is nearly as angry as he is, or is it for that reason? Why is it so hard for him to be at ease, that he must “resolve to be at ease, to dismiss what importunes, and to recall what pleases”? Is this wise advice for anyone going through trials?
  10. Jane believes “nothing free-born would submit to [insolence], even for a salary.” Is she correct, or merely ignorant of most people in the world? Would most people submit to a great many sufferings, if a salary, especially a large one, were recompensed? What does Rochester believe?
  11. Rochester tells Jane that he envies her “peace of mind, your clean conscience your unpolluted memory…a memory without blot or contamination must be an exquisite treasure.” Why did he feel this way? Is this why he loves Jane’s company so much, and desires to have her present in the evenings to talk to him?
  12. Why did Jane’s aunt continue to hate her, even on her deathbed, when Jane was there offering forgiveness and assisting in taking care of her, when her own daughters were clueless about what to do? How could Jane forgiver her after everything that had happened because of her aunt’s hatred?
  13. Why did Rochester say Jane was his equal, his likeness, before he proposed, especially considering their differences in station, fortune, and experience, and he was 20 years older than her? Was it just something romantic to make her say yes, or were there parts of her personality that reminded him of his own? If so, which ones?
  14. How was the chestnut tree a metaphor for Jane and Rochester’s relationship? “The cloven halves were not broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below; though community of vitality was destroyed…as yet, however, they might be said to form one tree-a ruin, but an entire ruin.”
  15. Jane had a dream about Thornfield being “ a dreary ruin, the retreat of bats and owls,” which could be said to have been a premonition. Or it could also be a representation of her fears about her future, especially with Rochester. But what did the part about the child represent or forbode? “I still carried the unknown little child: I might not lay it down anywhere, however tired were my arms-however much its weight impeded my progress, I must retain it.”
  16. The doctors’ theory on what caused Rochester’s wife to go mad was that “her excesses had prematurely developed the germs of insanity.”What were her excesses, and how could those lead to her becoming mentally broken? Did there also have to be a history of madness running through her blood to ignite these triggers? If so, what type of mental disorders do you think she might have had? What could have been done to treat her in our time, or are there some now who still have to be locked up for their safety and others’? Was Rochester merciful in his treatment of her then, especially in comparison with what typically happened to “hysterical women” in his time?
  17. Why did Jane say that, “while he [Rochester] spoke [about her staying with him as his mistress] my very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with crime in resisting him”? What crime would it have been at that time for her to do so, against the laws of the country, against society, and against her own beliefs?
  18. Why did Jane also say to Rochester in the above scene that “Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour…” ? What laws and principles was her body resisting, and which ones her soul? What was her internal conflict and why?

    Can you think of other examples when people should follow laws and principles, though their bodies and souls rage against them? Is it good to have them at such times? Why?
  19. When speaking bluntly with St. John about his feelings for Miss Oliver, Jane admitted to surprising him. But she admitted that for her, “I felt at home in this sort of discourse. I could never rest in communication with strong…refined minds…til I had passed the outworks of conventional reserve, and crossed the threshold of confidence…” What do you think John’s reaction to that was, as opposed to Rochester-did one find this aspect of her personality more appealing than the other did? Is this perhaps why she was able to bond so closely and quickly with Diana and Mary, and Miss Temple and Helen, and even why she never could with Miss Ingram, Miss Reed, or her own cousins, Georgiana and Eliza? Did that say more about Miss Ingram’s intellect, or Jane’s personality? What type of personality does this reveal Jane to have, that she would prefer deep, personal conversation to “small talk.” Are there other famous literary characters, or authors, who have proven to be like this? What makes some people so blunt and to the point, and despising small talk or socially conventional conversation? Is this a reason why many people identify with Jane Eyre’s character? Do you?
  20. St John does not understand Jane or her desires for a multitude of reasons (feel free to discuss those), one of which is that he “cannot at all imagine the craving I have for fraternal and sisterly love. I never had a home, I never had brothers or sisters…” Why does he not understand this about her, and why does she crave it so much when she has had homes at Gateshead, at Thornfield, and at Lowood, and sisters in Helen and others? How could you argue that none of those were her home? What difference is there between a blood sister and a chosen sister-can a chosen bond be stronger than a biological one? Why and how? Did she ever mention anything to Rochester about home?
  21. Is it possible that somehow Jane really did hear Mr. Rochester call out her name, especially considering the timeline was the same? If so, how did he know to call to her then, at the moment when she needed to be pulled away from the enticings and guilt trips of St. John? Was it possible that they were both forever linked in some way? How? Have you ever heard of any two people (regardless of the type of relationship) who shared an inexplicable bond or way of communication, or just knew something about the other in a moment of need? What bonds some people that way, and not others?

Miss Temple offered Jane and her dear friend Helen Burns tea and a seed cake from her private dinner. These two women were probably the kindest and greatest positive female influences in Jane’s life, and this moment one which altered her character from becoming as bitter at the world’s injustice as Mr. Rochester, into someone who instead had learned to contain her passions and allow her logic and morality to guide her actions, as well as enable her to better aid and balance Rochester’s tempers and impulses. For this reason, I wanted to make a cardamom spice cupcake. However, as whole seeds are not generally a popularly preferred texture in cupcakes, I have chosen to use the spice already ground.

Also, at Christmas when Diana and Mary were to return to Moor House, Jane and Hannah were “devoted…to such a beating of eggs…grating of spices, [and] compounding of Christmas cakes…to have all things in an absolutely perfect state of readiness.” A customary English Christmas cake of that time consisted of various dried fruits (such as raisins, currants, and cherries), nuts (almonds), citrus juice, zest, and candied peels (from oranges and lemons) and various spices. To combine the concept of these two recipes, I created one that might be more appealing for the modern reader (and leaving out all the dried fruits most people aren’t fond of, though you can feel free to add 1/4 cup of each that you prefer).

Charlotte Bronte also wrote Villette, Shirley, and The Professor. Charlotte Bronte’s sister Emily, wrote a darker, and even more tragic piece of Gothic fiction: Wuthering Heights, which includes the most wonderfully despicable character ever written. Their other sister, the less famous Anne, wrote the novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Fans of the Bronte sisters generally also enjoy the works of Jane Austen, particularly Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and the one most similar to Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is narrated by one of four sisters, a writer named Jo, who suffers many things in the process of growing up, but somehow finds peace and answers after her great losses.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier has main characters strikingly similar to Jane and Mr. Rochester, as well as a gorgeous mansion setting filled with tragic secrets, especially about the late Mrs. de Winter, who is said to haunt the halls of Manderley.

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, which was recently made into a movie, is also a similarly themed story with a tragic romance at its center, and filled with enticing drama.

A modern author of similar books is Kate Morton, whose most similar novels are The Distant Hours, The House at Riverton, and The Forgotten Garden.

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