John Donne’s “Nativity”

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John Donne

John Donne’s sonnet, “Nativity”, is a reverential Christmas poem, full of insight and paradox. Australian singer-songwriter, Paul Kelly, sings this sonnet on his album Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train. You can listen to it on YouTube here:


Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

John Donne

Read more of John Donne’s poems on Andrew’s website here:

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