Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud by John Donne

John Donne’s “Death, be not proud” is a poetic consideration on death, exploring its ultimate lack of power in the face of God. The poet challenges the fear of death by questioning its power in the sonnet. Donne also encourages us to cherish the power of God’s love and eternal life in Heaven.

Death, be not proud, though some have called 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 thee 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.