Marke in my heart, O Soule, where thou dost dwell,
The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
Whether that countenance can thee affright,
Teares in his eyes quench the amazing light,
Blood fills his frownes, which from his pierc'd head fell.
And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell
Which pray'd forgivenesse for his foes fierce spight?
No, no; but as in my idolatrie
I said to all my profane mistresses,
Beauty, of pitty, foulnesse onely is
A signe of rigour: so I say to thee,
To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assign'd,
This beauteous forme assures a pitious mind.
John Donne, Holy Sonnets XIII, as reproduced in The complete poetry and selected prose of John Donne, ed. Charles M. Coffin (New York: The Modern Library, 1952), 252, the edition ed. Helen Gardner (2nd ed., 1978) being not ready to hand.
To this I would add only that it shouldn't be assumed that Donne is offering a kind of cheap grace. For though "a pitious mind" is "assure[d]", it can surely be rejected.
My own unconfirmed glosses:
- Marke in my heart, O Soule, . . . | The picture of Christ crucified.
- Teares in his eyes quench the amazing light:
- Beauty, of pitty, foulnesse onely is | A signe of rigour: Beauty [is a sign] of pity, foulness only is | a sign of rigor.
- pitious: piteous: "Full of pity; affected with or feeling pity; compassionate, tender, merciful" (OED).