Holy Sonnets - Sonnets 5-8 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Sonnet 5 opens with the speaker comparing himself to other, more lowly creatures of God. The speaker implores, "If poisonous minerals, and if that tree / Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us, / If lecherous goats, if serpents envious / Cannot be damn'd, alas why should I be?" (1-4). After comparing himself to these creatures who, according to the bible, were not condemned, the speaker notes that the difference between him and these lowly creatures is "intent" and "reason" (5), which unfairly makes his sins more grievous. At the opening of the sestet, the speaker shifts gears and assumes a more submissive tone, asking, "But who am I that dare dispute with thee / Oh God?" (9-10), before asking to be cleansed and receive God's mercy in the final couplet.

Sonnet 6, one of the more famous sonnets of the sequence, is addressed to Death. "Death be not...

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This section contains 1,109 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Holy Sonnets Study Guide
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