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Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)


by John Donne

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

You can thank Petrarch for all the sonnets you have to read in school. This 14th century Italian poet isn’t the first person to write sonnets, but he makes the form popular all across Europe, inc...


The speaker of this poem finds himself in something like a David and Goliath situation. You might remember David from the Bible: he’s the skinny kid from Israel who takes down the biggest, me...


We don’t call Donne a Metaphysical Poet for nothing. "Metaphysics" is the study of the reality beyond the physical, everyday world, and "Death, be not proud" is a good example. There are hard...

Sound Check

Many of Donne’s poems, and Metaphysical Poems in general, sound like someone tying a complicated knot. Like a bowline. Or, a half-hitch. Or, a sheep shank. OK, so the kind of knot isn’t...

What's Up With the Title?

This poem has no title. See another section.OK, OK, we should probably say something about the Holy Sonnets. "Death, be not proud" belongs to a sequence of poems known as the Holy Sonnets. In all,...

Calling Card

"Wit" is hard to define. Jane Austen has it. Oscar Wilde has it. ESPN SportsCenter has it. And, John Donne has it in spades. We wouldn’t want to get in a verbal jousting match this guy: we...


It’s hard to keep track of all the different ways that he uses the word "death" in this poem. But, it’s clear that none of them make the hooded guy with a big sickle sound very scary or...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

There’s nothing like thoughts of death to kill your sex drive. This poem is like a cold shower.

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