A sonnet for Trinity Sunday

To God the Father

Great God, within whose simple essence we
Nothing but that which is thyself can find:
When on thyself thou did’st reflect thy mind
Thy thought was God, which took the form of thee:
And when this God thus born, thou lov’st, and he
Loved thee again, with passion of like kind,
(As lovers’ sighs, which meet, become one wind)
Both breathed one spright of equal deity.
Eternal father, whence these two do come
And wil’st the title of my father have,
As heavenly knowledge in my mind engrave,
That it thy son’s true image may become:
And cense my heart with sighs of holy Love,
That it the temple of the spright may prove.

Henry Constable (1562-1613)

(A better doctrine of the Trinity than can be found in most current dogmatics, combined with warm-hearted devotion; and all in perfect Petrarchan form; what more could you ask for?!)


  1. David Campton
    Jun 7, 2009

    Have to remember that the next time I’m NOT dodging preaching on Trinity Sunday!

  2. RuthGouldbourne
    Jun 8, 2009

    That’s wonderful – why have I never found it before. Thank you!

  3. Steve H
    Jun 8, 2009

    @David: welcome to the blog. You obviously have either a very erudite congregation, or a burning desire to get out of preaching Trinity Sunday for evermore, if you were planning to inflict this on your people!

    @Ruth: I found it in a cheap book entitled ‘English Sonnets’ which has several real gems in, as well as the obvious (Shakespeare; Milton; Wordsworth; …). I’ve never come across Constable anywhere else. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. RuthGouldbourne
    Jun 9, 2009

    and i have a book-token just waiting to be spent….

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