Commonplace Book: “Death, be not proud …” by John Donne

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.

“Death, be not proud …”

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 to 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-wrought
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.

John Donne (c.1572 – 1631)

From The Sonnet: A Comprehensive Anthology of British and American Sonnets from the Renaissance to the Present
Edited and with a critical Introduction by
Robert M. Bender and Charles L. Squier
Washington Square Books (1967)

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