Holy Sonnet X

by John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have callèd thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
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 than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

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  1. I love this sonnet, memorized it in high school and still recite it sometimes. I love the interposition of sleep and death, such a rich notion in both directions.

  2. Antonio Parr says:

    He is risen.

    Happy Easter.

  3. Researcher says:

    That is so very curious. I also memorized this sometime during my teenage years, but learned the eighth line as “soul’s repose.” I can’t imagine why, since that reduces the line to 9 syllables (I don’t remember all the technical names for poem innards anymore). Thanks for putting this up. It’s a beautiful poem for Easter, and it’s nice to know I can still quote it, but I’ll have to try and remember to substitute “deliverie” for “repose”.