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O might those sighes and teares returne againe into my breast and eyes (1945)


Part of a series or song cycle:

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne (Op. 35)


O might those sighes and teares returne againe into my breast and eyes

Oh might those sighes and teares return againe
Into my breast and eyes, which I have spent,
That I might in this holy discontent
Mourne with some fruit, as I have mourn'd in vaine;
In mine Idolatry what show'rs of rain
Mine eyes did waste? What griefs my heart did rent?
That sufferance was my sinne; now I repent
'Cause I did suffer, I must suffer paine.
Th'hydroptique drunkard, and night scouting thief,
The itchy lecher and self-tickling proud
Have the remembrance of past joyes, for relief
Of coming ills. To poore me is allow'd
No ease; for long, yet vehement griefe hath been
Th'effect and cause, the punishment and sinne.

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Composer

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

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Poet

John Donne was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets.

He studied at Hart Hall, Oxford, which is now Hertford College, best known for its iconic Hertford Bridge, or 'Bridge of Sighs'.

You can read more about him here, and read some of his poetry here.


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