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    #1

    Smile I canít look upon God in what line I will

    In my reading an excerpt of John Donne’s “The Fifth of My Prebend Sermons”, I found myself haunted by a couple of questions. First, I found in the sermon such an expression as “I can’t look upon God in what line I will, nor take hold of God, in what handle I will.” What puzzles me is the meaning of the word “line” in the sentence as well as that of the second half of the sentence, or rather, the denotation of the metaphor “handle” in the sentence.
    Moreover, I also found in that sermon an expanse of expression which goes as follows.
    “…and I shall see God in a Bath of the blood of his Sonne, whether I shall see God as a Dove with an Olive branch, (peace to my soul) or as an Eagle, a vulture to prey…”
    My second question is why the first letters of the words “Bath”, “Dove”, “Olive” and “Eagle” above are all capitalized? According to what I have been taught, such capitalizations only occur in the cases of proper nouns.
    Thirdly, that sermon also contains a sentence Hee is a terrible God, I take him so.” And what does “I take him so” mean here? Does it mean “I accept him as such?” Juvenile as my questions may be, any help with any of my questions will be dearly appreciated and I would be most obliged if the three of them could all be attended to. Thank you all again.
    Last edited by on the way; 29-Nov-2012 at 05:34.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    Quote Originally Posted by on the way View Post
    In my reading an excerpt of John Donne’s “The Fifth of My Prebend Sermons”, I found myself haunted by a couple of questions. First, I found in the sermon such an expression as “I can’t look upon God in what line I will, nor take hold of God, in what handle I will.” What puzzles me is the meaning of the word “line” in the sentence as well as that of the second half of the sentence, or rather, the denotation of the metaphor “handle” in the sentence.
    Moreover, I also found in that sermon an expanse of expression which goes as follows.
    “…and I shall see God in a Bath of the blond of his Sonne, whether I shall see God as a Dove with an Olive branch, (peace to my soul) or as an Eagle, a vulture to prey…”
    My second question is why the first letters of the words “Bath”, “Dove”, “Olive” and “Eagle” above are all capitalized? According to what I have been taught, such capitalization only occurs in the case of proper nouns.
    Thirdly, that sermon also contains a sentence Hee is a terrible God, I take him so.” And what does “I take him so” mean here? Does it mean “I accept him as such?” Juvenile as my questions may be, any help with any of my questions will be dearly appreciated and I will be most obliged if the three of them could all be attended. Thank you all again.
    You do realise, I suppose, that this was written in the early 17th century. English has changed a lot since then, it is not possible to apply modern rules of grammar, spelling, capitalisation, etcetera to it.

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    #3

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    More anwers are being expected.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    You may expect more answers, but it would be nice to acknowledge that one was given.

    The fact is, Donne wrote a LONG time ago. We don't spell the same way. We don't capitalize the same way. We don't use vocabulary the same way. Exactly as Bhai said. There may be modern interpretations of this work, and if so, it may answer some of your questions. I don't know what he meant by "what line I will" either.

    Donne is using those nouns as metaphors for God, which may be the reason for the capitals.

    I believe your last interpretation is correct.
    Last edited by 5jj; 27-Nov-2012 at 14:20.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    Thanks.Sorry if I sounded impolite, I was just being a little disappointed ,that's all.Thank you both.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    Quote Originally Posted by on the way View Post
    More anwers are being expected.
    Quote Originally Posted by on the way View Post
    I was just being a little disappointed.
    You are using the progressive when it's not appropriate.

    More answers are expected. (As discussed, a better way to say this is "Thank you. I hope I will still get a few additional answers.")
    I was a little disappointed.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    Thank you both, Bhaisahab and Barb, for your generous help. I didn’t mean to grudge my acknowledgement. As discussed, I was at first disappointed at Bhaisahab’s answer to my questions and felt I would be a sort of hypocrite if I pretended to appreciate what I didn’t actually like. But now, on second thoughts, I come to realize that what I felt back then about the answer was in fact irrelevant. The fact that Bhaisahab did bother to spare his time and give his own version of answer to my questions should sufficiently command my acknowledgement. Of course, more deep gratitude is due to Barb, who kindly went out of her way to point out, without any sarcasm in her tone, my errors in my replies and enlighten me on what was the proper response in that particular situation. The latter, which is more about civility than about grammaticality, is, I think, as valuable, if not more valuable, as any purely academic answers I could ever imagine to my original questions. So thank you again. What a dull and terrible world it would be without caring people like you.
    Last edited by on the way; 29-Nov-2012 at 05:40.

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    #8

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    God in a Bath of the blond of his Sonne,
    I'm pretty sure that should be blood, and probably a reference to communion wine.

    In German, nouns are capitalised, and in English a few hundred years ago, it was not uncommon to capitalise nouns, espcially important ones. In fact, people still do it a bit- you will see capital letters used for important nouns that are not proper nouns in things like reports.

    On a John Donne theme, I stayed in a flat in Lincoln's Inn a few years ago directly in front of the church where they rang the bells at noon if a member had died and have heard the very bells that toll for thee tolling for someone.

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    #9

    Re: I canít look upon God in what line I will

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'm pretty sure that should be blood, and probably a reference to communion wine.

    In German, nouns are capitalised, and in English a few hundred years ago, it was not uncommon to capitalise nouns, espcially important ones. In fact, people still do it a bit- you will see capital letters used for important nouns that are not proper nouns in things like reports.

    On a John Donne theme, I stayed in a flat in Lincoln's Inn a few years ago directly in front of the church where they rang the bells at noon if a member had died and have heard the very bells that toll for thee tolling for someone.
    It's indeed a mistake. I'm very sorry for that.Thank you ,Tdol.You helped a lot.

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