O strong Ramme, which hast batter'd heaven for mee,
Mild Lambe, which with thy blood, has marked the
path;. . .
John Donne, "Ascension," Holy Sonnets
For before the Nativity is the dead of the winter and after
it the quick.
Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno, XI
THE THIRD SONNET is woven of images from Genesis, the Gospels, the Incarnation, medieval legends of Adam, puns, the zodiac, Shakespeare, Milton, Washington Irving, and one of Thomas's unpublished poems. There are three distinct parts in the third sonnet: the Atonement of Christ for Adam's sin ("Adam's wether"), the Incarnation ("descended bone"), and a zodiacal metaphor of seasons ("black ram"). The imagery falls into five categories, giving the sonnet an order which neither anarchic syntax nor disjointed chronology can disrupt:
|lamb||three dead seasons||Adam|
|wether||shuffling of the year||Eve|
|flock of||old winter||tree-tailed worm|
|horned||chimed||garden time [Eden]|