Ok, here’s the last poem by Donne I’m going to share with you. This week, anyway. I’ll try to find something more accessible for tomorrow. This poem is very, very common, but people might encounter it for the first time a little too young. I don’t how many 9th graders are prepared to reflect on the state of mortality, or really feel the need or hope for the resurrection. Maybe I’m selling young people short. I did have sort of a charmed childhood, with no more than the usual difficulties, and my experience might not have been the most common. ANYWAY– Donne was a man familiar with suffering and grief. (If you haven’t already, click here to see a short bio. It’s the same as the one I linked to in previous posts.) I hope you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of his faith in this poem.
Death be not proud, though some have callèd 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 three, 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.