To St Mary Magdalen

Paraphrase      FOR few nights' solace in delicious bed
         Where heat of lust did kindle flames of hell,
         Thou nak'd on naked rock in desert cell
     Lay thirty years, and tears of grief did shed.
     But for that time thy heart there sorrowed
         Thou now in heaven eternally dost dwell,
         And for each tear which from thine eyes then fell,
     A sea of pleasure now is rendered.
     If short delights entice my heart to stray,
        Let me by thy long penance learn to know
     How dear I should for trifling pleasures pay;
           And if I virtue's rough beginning shun,
     Let thy eternal joys unto me show
           What high rewards by little pain is won.
Original spelling
Explanatory footnotes
Audio recording
Colour Significance
Importance of form: The Petrarchan Sonnet
Three more sonnets to Mary Magdalen
A short biography of Henry Constable


Henry Constable (1562-1613)


Email me

From: Spiritual Sonnets: To the Honour of God and His Saints (1594)


This site was last updated

on April 11th 2005

 by Heather C. Milligan