Death be not proud



Death, be not proud (Sonnet X of the Holy Sonnets), 1609

John Donne, 1571-1631, English







Masks Confronting Death, 1888, oil on canvas. Photo from the net

James Ensor, 1860-1949, Belgian.  MOMA, NY





Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.





As above


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.





As Above


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.





As Above












2 thoughts on “Death be not proud

  1. Perhaps of all the poets, for me Donne is the one I most love. And your reading was superlative. Thank you. And for the paired colour.

    1. For you, this poem, particularly, dear Susannah. Because I know of your partiality for this poet.


Comments are closed.