Monday, February 24, 2014

Anne Locke

Anne Locke (c.1530—1590) is an English poet, and translator of sermons. In 1553, John Knox stayed with the Locke family, and in 1557 she travelled with him to Geneva. She is known today for having written the first sonnet sequence to have appeared in the English language. A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner, upon the 51st Psalm, consists of 21 sonnets inspired by King David's Psalm 51, plus a five-sonnet preface. Her son, Henry Locke, later became known as a poet as well.

Her sonnet sequence was first published, in 1560, by being slipped into the back of a book of John Calvin's sermons, which Anne Locke had translated from French. The following is the first of the 21 sonnets.

from A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner, upon the 51st Psalm

Have mercy, God, for thy great mercy's sake.
O God: my God, unto my shame I say,
Being fled from thee, so as I dread to take
Thy name in wretched mouth, and fear to pray
Or ask the mercy that I have abused.
But, God of mercy, let me come to thee:
Not for justice, that justly am accused:
Which self word Justice so amazeth me,
That scarce I dare thy mercy sound again.
But mercy, Lord, yet suffer me to crave.
Mercy is thine: Let me not cry in vain,
Thy great mercy for my great fault to have.
Have mercy, God, pity my penitence
With greater mercy than my great offense.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.