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Death be Not Proud by John Donne


"Death be Not Proud" is a poem written by John Donne. This is one of Donne's more well-known poems. The poem speaks of how heaven is eternal. "Death" in this poem is personified. He uses "rest" and "sleepe" to speak of how they are images of what death is like. He states that death is something which comes to everyone. He ends the poem by saying "death shall be no more;" which means that after we die, we are not truly dead, our souls go on.

This poem is made up of only one stanza. It has fourteen lines with the rhyme scheme ABBAABBACDDCAE. The last line is unrhymed simply to draw attention to the final word. "Die". That's basically what the entire poem is about and Donne uses his rhyme structure to bring our attention to it.


Death be Not Proud

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 thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Written around 1618.

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