John Donne

John Donne

John Donne is one of the most important English poets of his time. He was the best of the metaphysical poets and is remembered for his skill with conceits. His works include the Holy Sonnets, Juvenilia: or Certain Paradoxes and Problems, and Letters to severall persons of honour.

Some of Donne’s most famous poems include No Man is an Island, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, The Flea, Death be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10)and The Sun Rising.

A Hymn to God the Father

‘A Hymn to God the Father’ by John Donne is a well-loved poem about God and religion. It contains a speaker’s prayers that he be forgiven a series of unnamed sins.

A Lecture upon the Shadow

‘A Lecture upon the Shadow’ by John Donne depicts a deteriorating relationship. It at first appeared to be blossoming but has since fallen apart.

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day

‘A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day’ by John Donne is one of the poet’s best poems about love and loss. It depicts the speaker’s grief after the death of someone he loved.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ by John Donne is an incredibly famous poem. In it, Donne uses one of his famous conceits to depict the steadfast nature of his love.

Air and Angels

‘Air and Angels’ by John Donne depicts the unsual nature of the speaker’s love. He knows they have to come togther and allow their love to encircle one another.

Batter my Heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

‘Batter my Heart,’ also known as ‘Holy Sonnet 14,’ is one of Donne’s best religious poems. It is directed at God and asks him to take hold of the speaker.

Death, be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10)

‘Death, be not Proud’ by John Donne is one of the poet’s best poems about death. It tells the listener not to fear Death as he keeps morally corrupt company and only leads to Heaven.

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

‘Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward’ by John Donne is a poem about spiritual transformation. It also depicts the speaker’s fear of confronting God.

Holy Sonnet 17 (XVII)

Holy Sonnet 17 (XVII) by John Donne is a religious poem. It takes an affectionate tone as the speaker addresses his love for God.

Holy Sonnet IV

John Donne’s ‘Holy Sonnet IV’ (O, my black soul) is one of his famous religious sonnets in which he talks about a speaker’s sinful soul. This poem is full of vivid imagery and symbolism.

I Am a Little World Made Cunningly

‘I Am a Little World Made Cunningly’ by John Donne contains a speaker’s prayer to God that both the good and bad of his soul be purged with fire. 

Lovers’ Infiniteness

John Donne’s poetry tends to have love, death, and religion as central themes. ‘Lovers’ Infiniteness’ is no exception, exploring the infiniteness in love.

Song: Go and catch a falling star

‘Song: Go and catch a falling star’ by John Donne tells of a speaker’s belief that there are no women in the world who are both beautiful and faithful. 

The Canonization

‘The Canonization’ by John Donne describes a transcendent love that eventually evolves into the idealized baseline for all other aspiring lovers. 

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