Thorny crown of glory

Daily Reading for March 31 • Wednesday in Holy Week

Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,

Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,

Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,

All changing unchanged Ancient of days.

But do not with a vile crown of frail bays

Reward my Muse’s white sincerity;

But what Thy thorny crown gain’d, that give me,

A crown of glory, which doth flower always.

The ends crown our works, but Thou crown’st our ends,

For at our ends begins our endless rest.

The first last end, now zealously possess’d,

With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.

‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high;

Salvation to all that will is nigh. . . .


By miracles exceeding power of man,

He faith in some, envy in some begat,

For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate:

In both affections many to Him ran.

But O! the worst are most, they will and can,

Alas! and do, unto th’ Immaculate,

Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate,

Measuring self-life’s infinity to span,

Nay to an inch. Lo! where condemned He

Bears His own cross, with pain, yet by and by

When it bears him, He must bear more and die.

Now Thou art lifted up, draw me to Thee,

And at Thy death giving such liberal dole,

Moist with one drop of Thy blood my dry soul.

From “La Corona” by John Donne, in Poems of John Donne, vol. 1, ed. E. K. Chambers (London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896).

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