John Donne

(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

Death Be Not Proud - Poem by John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
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Form: Sonnet

Comments about Death Be Not Proud by John Donne

  • (1/9/2013 2:22:00 AM)

    Poor John, It is thee; thou Mankind who ride on Pride.
    Thee call me Mighty and Dreadful, for, Almighty bequeath
    Thee with all the connivance, To get His Holy Son Crucified.
    Thee claim I Overthrow, Though I Overlook thou Vice
    I Die Not, Poor John, for thee overkill mee
    Much Pleasure, For, Rest and Sleep being My pictures
    Mee slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men, For,
    Thee being slave to Greed, Delusion and Callous Brainwork.
    Poyson, Warre and sicknesse being thou Brainchild
    Mee battle to bury the dirt out of thou children’s sight.
    Thee abuse poppy and charmes in vain to behold sleep
    Though I befriend only pure and pristine.
    One short sleep, thee wake eternally to embrace the filth
    And Death shall be no more with thee, for, I die with thee!
    Donne with John
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    53 person liked.
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  • (12/18/2012 2:10:00 AM)

    Caleb, you're a fool and a harlot. This poem was written in the 1550-1650s, where this WAS common language. Spellings tend to change, over 400 years. You need to translate and adapt, or be stuck with your Dover Beach trash and it's ilk.

    @Charlotte Westbury - Stroake = Stroke, like a light touch. Wondering if it wasn't better to take the poppies and charms, to sleep by his own hand, rather than be struck down by death's touch due to sickness and old age or a sword on some foreign battlefield.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/21/2012 4:39:00 AM)

    Well...I'm a fan and advocate of poetry written according to Wordsworth's ideals, outlined in his 'Preface to the Lyrical Ballads.' This poem is the farthest thing from that. Poetry should be written in every day language, and strike a note with the reader allowing him to relate to it, while still being able to get the author's point across...this poem doesn't give me any sense of familiarity and is by no means conversational. Give me Dover Beach over this any day. (Report) Reply

  • Alok Mishra (4/21/2012 3:47:00 AM)

    This poem is one I had a reading when I did my +2. Now I see this with a different eye... It is so deep in sense, so great in style and so amazing as a whole! (Report) Reply

  • (2/25/2012 2:48:00 PM)

    What word is stroake? I can't seem to make it fit into this awesome poem! Thanks! ! (Report) Reply

  • Claudia Krizay (4/21/2011 5:24:00 PM)

    I like this poem because it reminds me of John Gunther's book about his son who died of brain cancer 'Death Be Not Proud' -a very moving poem with a lot of meaning and depth- (Report) Reply

  • (11/28/2010 2:48:00 PM)

    It's about how even though we die physically, our souls still live on forever. Death can never, ever take our souls and spirits away, and so It/He should 'be not proud.' Great poem; I liked it even though it took me a while to decipher ye olde spelling! : -) (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2010 6:19:00 PM)

    awesome! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (4/21/2010 5:45:00 AM)

    Donne here personifies death, just as love is often personified in poetry. I do not believe he is assuaging his own fear of death, Donne, I feel was a spritual hero. He is satirising death here, whom some think mighty, because he believes that death, despite his universal activity, is but the door to a better life. I imagine Donne having a good laugh at death's expense as he writes this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (4/21/2010 2:55:00 AM)

    Death is just as birth in the world! Then why should we be afraid of death at all? (Report) Reply

  • (1/25/2010 8:25:00 PM)

    I wonder if Death is ever jealous of life...... I believe I shall have it recited at my funeral. (Report) Reply

  • (10/16/2009 3:20:00 AM)

    'Death thou shalt die' is superb affrontery in the face of a force that men fear as all-conquering.Donne may well be assuaging his own fears, but what he produces by way of reassurance is an immortal poem. (Report) Reply

  • (10/16/2009 3:19:00 AM)

    'Death thou shalt die' is superb affrontery in the face of a force that men fear as all-conquering.Donne may well be assuaging his own fears, but what he produces by way of reassurance is an immortal poem. (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2009 7:40:00 PM) (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2009 7:33:00 PM) (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Partlow (4/21/2009 6:39:00 PM)

    If you like this poem, you will like 'Caligula, Death is Dead': http: // (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2009 6:05:00 PM)

    Be not proud, Wilkes and Harmon, in your mighty dreadful expositions of Donne's metaphysical poem! You and your fellows have no clue as to the intent or the meaning of the poem. Sit down and read the poem line by line slowly and carefully with a dictionary and an old worn copy of a text in prosody, putting aside the smart ass comments and know-it-all attitude of a modern reader who knows nothing about the devices of poetry! Donne does not address the theme of death in this poem, he personifies Death in his apostrophe and puts a case for his belief that in the end, Death is powerless, a nothing in the grand scheme of things. A theme and a personification are NOT the same thing, lads! Of course, we all must die, but Donne asserts that the best among us go willingly to the end, and no matter the circumstances Death is as much a victim as we are! (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2009 1:56:00 PM)

    Run until you fall off the edge of the world
    Jump past the stars and the moon
    do not worry
    tis never over
    and you shall be with god soon.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/21/2009 12:16:00 PM)

    I'm a big fan of Donne's poetry.
    However, why would he think that death was proud? How would he know?
    Perhaps death is very humble. This is, of course, Donne's take on death in this particular poem. So, it's his privilege to believe this. This belief is, after all, the premise for his poem. No premise, no poem.

    All poets address, at some point or other, the theme of death.
    Thomas: 'Death shall have no dominion'
    Paraphrasing William Empson (I believe) : death is a subject we should be silent about.
    I'm not sure who (it may also be Empson) , but someone said something like-'Death is the trigger to the literary man's biggest gun.'
    Implying his view of death, Jung said that life 'is a luminous pause between two great mysteries which yet are one.' There is a case to be made that what happens after life is what happened before.

    Beautifully done as this sonnet is, I must admit I am in the camp with those who think Donne, in this poem, was attempting to assuage his own fears. Which is, if one considers it, a valid motivation for any poet.
    (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (4/21/2009 6:39:00 AM)

    In our local cemetery there lies a man whose surname is Death.
    'So shalt thou feed on death that feeds on men, /Then, death once dead, there's no more dying then.' (Shakespeare, Sonnet 146) .
    The first time I read Donne I felt a spell had come over me that forced me to read on, even though I was not quite sure of the meaning.
    (Report) Reply

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