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                  John Donne (1572-1631)

                              Holy Sonnet.

    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,
    Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee;
    From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
    Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
    Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
    Thou'art slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
    And poppie,' or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
    And better then they stroake; why swell'st thou then?
    One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.


The above poem is probably one of the six Holy Sonnets that were dedicated to Richard Sackville, the Earl of Dorset, in the poem To E. of D. with six holy Sonnets. It can be found, for example, in:
  • Donne, John. The Complete Poetry of John Donne. John T. Shawcross, ed. New York: New York University Press, 1968.

    A modernized version, titled by its first line, can be found in:

  • Harmon, William, ed. The Classic Hundred Poems (Second Edition). New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.