Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

By John Donne 1572–1631 John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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Poet John Donne 1572–1631

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Time & Brevity, Living, Religion, Sorrow & Grieving, Christianity, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 John  Donne

Biography

John Donne's standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, is now assured. However, it has been confirmed only in the early 20th century. The history of Donne's reputation is the most remarkable of any major writer in English; no other body of great poetry has fallen so far from favor for so long and been generally condemned as inept and crude. In Donne's own day his poetry was highly prized . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Time & Brevity, Living, Religion, Sorrow & Grieving, Christianity, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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