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Poetry

Sunday Sonnet.

This is the last sonnet in the Psalm cycle that Anne Locke wrote. In it, she contrasts the celebration of temple worship with her status, and her wish to join the congregation with an assurance of her salvation. Locke was no gnostic. She knew that from the fear of God came the found of wisdom, and logic or reason was one of the tools of such.

So the brute discovers reason in worship, and with a gentle eye God sees our imperfect praise.

Then on thy hill, and in thy walled towne,
Thou shalt receaue the pleasing sacrifice,
The brute shall of thy praised name resoune
In thankfull mouthes, and then with gentle eyes
Thou shalt behold vpon thine altar lye
Many a yelden host of humbled hart,
And round about then shall thy people crye:
We praise thee, God our God: thou onely art
The God of might, of mercie, and of grace.
That I then, Lorde, may also honor thee,
Releue my sorow, and my sinnes deface:
Be, Lord of mercie, mercifull to me:
Restore my feling of thy grace againe:
Assure my soule, I craue it not in vaine.

Anne Locke

There are a couple of traps here. Resoune is not resound, but reason: in line three the brute or instinctual man, is bought by grace to use reason or logic, and then praise. Thankful mouthes does not work now apart from eathing, and I have substituted voice, which removes what I was a deliberately ambivalent phrase. Yelden is yeided, submitted. Finally, there are times you have to leave the archaic workds or break the rhyme pattern.

Then on your hill, and in your walled town
You shall receive a pleasing sacrifice
The brute shall of your praised name reason sound
In thankful speech, and then with gentle eyes

You shall behold upon you altar lie
Many a yeiled host of humble heart
And round about then shall your people cry
We praise you, God our God, you only art

The God of might, of mercy and of grace
That I thenk Lorde may also honour thee
Releive my sorry and my sins deface
Be, Lord of mercy, merciful to me

Restore my feeling of your grace again
Assure my soul I crave it not in vain.

Anne Locke, Translit.

Suggestions of Sonnet cycles are welcome: Though Donne is the master of this, they have been published and republished. The only local cycle is Baxter (still under copyright). Otherwise, the Sunday post may not be a sonnet.

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