Monday, April 09, 2007

Poem 3

Holy Sonnet 10

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whome 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 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.

~John Donne

This is, of course, Donne's most famous poem--for good reason. I first really noticed it when I saw the movie "Wit" (Which, incidentally, contains one of the greatest lines for an English major out there. "Nothing but a breath--a comma--separates life from life everlasting...Life, death. Soul, God. Past, present. Not insuperable barriers, not semicolons, just a comma." [W;t, Margaret Edson] See what a little close reading will do?).

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