CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF “HYMN TO GOD MY GOD, IN MY SICKNESS”
The poem “Hymn to God, my God, in my Sickness” is a poem which Donne composed on his death bed a week before his death. At that time, he was ready to present himself before God but with the preparation to be acceptable to God and Heaven. The main theme of the poem is that death is not a horrible thing which terrifies most of us. Same idea has been discussed by Emily Dickinson in one of her famous poems “Because I Could Not Stop For Death.” Further, Donne advises his readers that a man must do good and follow the path shown by God. God will definitely do good to him on the Day of Judgment.
The poet says that he believes that as the sun rises and sets, death and resurrection are linked together. Therefore, one should not be scared of dying. He is also going to die and ready to join heaven where he will be welcomed by a choir of angels. These angels will be singing hymns. However, at present he is in the world. He intends to tune his instrument of poetry to express his thoughts on what he will do in Heaven. “And what I must do then, think here before.”
He calls himself a map and doctors the cartographers. “Whilst my physicians by their love are grown Cosmographers, and I their map.”Then, the poet says that he fears that fever will cause his death. As death can cause no harm to anyone, why should he fear death? He further says that the west and the east are very near on the map of the world. Death is linked to west while Christ is linked to the east. So he feels happy to think that death and resurrection are close to each other.
Then the poet tries to find where the Heaven will be. He tries to guess whether it is on Pacific Sea or a rich place in the east. Similarly he thinks whether it will be Jerusalem or the strait of Anyan where he is to pass. Does it exist in the Garden of Eden?
Then he appeals to God to accept his soul sanctified by the blood of Christ and to replace the Crown of Thorns of Christ with the second crown of His Mercy. He requests God that he preaches His sermon as a Dean of St. Paul’s Church, he expects to receive Heaven as a reward of preaching His sermon.
And so to others’ souls I preached thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
Therefore that he may rise the Lord thrws down.
The main idea of the poem is very obvious. The poet wants to say that death and physical sufferings of a man in this world are from God and must be embraced willingly because it is only these sufferings and death with which a man can have heavenly bliss. However, he is an idealist and shows optimism in a blissful life in the life-after.
To sum up, the elements of symbolism, rhyme scheme, and connection of the metaphysical conceit with a religious genre found within John Donne’s poem under discussion, all contribute in a forceful way to the description and explanation of the metaphysical conceit discussed in the poem. The unique qualities of the poem have made it a master-piece in the history of English literature. (Words: 564)