Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)
Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)
by John Donne

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) Religion Quotes Page 1

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Quote #1

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. (lines 3-4)

The immortality of the soul is the reason that Death doesn’t really "kill." As expressed in this poem, does this idea seem profound, or just clever and superficial?

Quote #2

And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery. (lines 7-8)

"Best men" is vague enough that it can have religious or secular meanings. Does it mean courageous warriors who risk life and limb for their country, or does it means religious martyrs who prefer to meet death than compromise their beliefs? In point of fact, soldiers can be religious heroes, too, especially if there is no separation of church and state, as in Anglican England.

Quote #3

Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men (line 9)

One name is noticeably absent from this list: God. Is there room for God in a world that is ruled by "fate" and "chance?" For a poem called a "Holy Sonnet," this is a strikingly non-religious line.

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