As Due By Many Titles : by John Donne || Analysis

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As Due By Many Titles

As due by many titles I resign
Myself to thee, O God, first I was made
By thee, and for thee, and when I was decayed
Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine,
I am thy son, made with thy self to shine,
Thy servant, whose pains thou hast still repaid,
Thy sheep, thine image, and, till I betrayed
My self, a temple of thy Spirit divine;

Why doth the devil then usurp in me '?
Why doth he steal, nay ravish that's thy right?
Except thou rise and for thine own work fight,
Oh I shall soon despair, when I do see
That thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt not choose me, And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.

As due by many titles I resign Myself to thee, O God, first I was made By thee, and for thee, and when I was decayed Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine, I am thy son, made with thy self to shine, Thy servant, whose pains thou hast still repaid, Thy sheep, thine image, and, till I betrayed My self, a temple of thy Spirit divine;
As Due By Many Titles

Critical Analysis

      As Due By Many Titles is included in the Holy Sonnets published in the year 1609. The theme of these sonnets is the nearness of Death and fear of divine punishment. The poet wants God's grace but unfortunately the Devil has held him under his grip. He cannot flee from the Devil. There is a symbolic struggle between the Good and the Evil within the poet. The poet's despair and helplessness is evident because God has forsaken him. He is like a maiden betrayed and ravished by the Devil (L. 10). The poet realises his own faults and seeks God's mercy for the saving of his soul.

Development of Thought:

      The poet gives many reasons for resigning himself to the Will of God. Firstly, God created him for His own service. Secondly, he was redeemed from the original sin of Adam by the sacrifice of Christ, the son of God. He paid for the sin of Adam with his blood. Thirdly, he is God's son, made in his own image. The light of God shines in him. God has also rewarded him - His humble servant - for his troubles. God has so far protected him just as the shepherd protects his sheep. Moreover, like Adam, his body was the temple of God, till he fell into sin.

Devil's Slave:

      The poet claims his relationship with God and his right to be saved by Him. Why has God allowed the Devil to take wrongly what belongs to Him? Why does the Devil corrupt his soul which belongs to God? The poet himself is helpless against the power of the Devil. God alone can rescue him from the Devil and take him under His care and protection. God loves all mankind; why should He not save him from the Devil ? In the end, the poet makes an earnest and urgent appeal to God to save him from the clutches of the Devil. It is rather strange that Satan (Devil) hates him and yet does not leave him. He cannot rid himself of, Satan. He expects help from God because after all he belongs to Him. He is entitled to His protection as His servant. It is in God's interest not to abandon His servants to Satan.

Critical Remarks:

      Donne's despair is partly due to his sinful life. Though he has a strong faith, he realizes that he is not worthy to be saved. His only consolation lies in an appeal to God to extend His grace to him and save him from Satan. The words 'till I betrayed myself' indicate the weakness of his case before God. On merit, he cannot claim redemption. The only alternative is to seek His mercy - Divine Compassion. His argument is that God like a true master should protect His servants against enemies. If He does so, he will be saved from the clutches of Satan.

      This is a regular sonnet. The octet contains his claims on the protection and mercy of God. The sestet is an appeal to God to rescue him from Satan. The despair of the poet arises from the fact that being conscious of his own wickedness, he feels that he does not deserve God's mercy. The metaphor of the shepherd and the servant may be noted. There is a pun on son/sun in line five. The sonnet throws light on the struggle in Donne's soul.

Paraphrase:

      Line. 1-8 : I resign myself to the Will of God for many reasons. O God, firstly, I (as Adam, the first man) was created by you for your service, but I was corrupted by sin. You redeemed me with the blood of Christ - your son. Secondly, I am your own son and your light shines within me (mark the play on the word Son/Sun). Thirdly, I am your servant and you have rewarded me for my labour. I am made in your own image. Fourthly, I am your sheep and you are my shepherd. My body was a temple of the spirit of God till I fell into sin.

      Line. 9-14 : Why does the Devil wrongly possess my body and soul? Why does the Devil steal what belongs to God ? Why does the Devil corrupt what by right is God's ? Unless God bestirs himself and fights against the devil to claim what rightly belongs to Him, I shall have to face despair and disaster. God loves all mankind and He should therefore save me. l am hated by Satan and yet he will not leave me, (God should, therefore, help me and save me from Satan).

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