A Short Analysis of John Donne’s ‘Good Friday 1613. Riding Westward’

On Donne’s Good Friday poem – analysed by Dr Oliver Tearle

As Good Friday approaches, we thought we’d share this Good Friday poem by the metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631), and offer a few brief notes towards an analysis of this poem, written in rhyming couplets, which sees Donne meditating on the spiritual aspects of Easter and the Crucifixion.

Good Friday 1613. Riding Westward

Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.

Read more

A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘Easter Hymn’

A powerful Easter poem by one of the most famous atheist poets

The poet A. E. Housman (1859-1936) published just two volumes of poems in his lifetime: A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922). Yet he remains one of the most widely-read poets of his era, on the strength of these two books and a selection of posthumously published poems. ‘Easter Hymn’ opens More Poems, which was published shortly after Housman’s death in 1936.

Easter Hymn

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.

But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,

Read more

A Short Analysis of William Dunbar’s ‘Done is a battell on the dragon blak’

On one of the earliest Easter poems As Easter approaches, we’re going to share some of our favourite Easter-themed poems over the next couple of weeks, in the run-up to Easter Day. First up, a wonderful late medieval poem. ‘Done is a battell on the dragon blak’: as opening lines go, it’s one of the … Read more

10 of the Best Easter Poems Everyone Should Read

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Let us celebrate Easter with ten classic poems about the Easter season. Whether you’re thinking about the Passion of Christ or tucking into chocolate Easter Eggs, or simply looking forward to returning to those things you’ve given up for Lent, we hope you enjoy this pick of the greatest poems about Easter.

Read more

A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Good Friday’

A summary of a Rossetti poem by Dr Oliver Tearle

‘Good Friday’ was published in Christina Rossetti’s 1866 collection The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems. The poem is about Rossetti’s struggle to feel close to Christ and the teachings of Christianity, and to weep for the sacrifice he made. Below we offer a short summary and analysis of ‘Good Friday’, focusing on its language and meaning.

Read more