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

by John Donne

‘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 Jet Ring Sent

by John Donne

‘A Jet Ring Sent’ by John Donne describes how a speaker’s beloved returned his promise ring. The speaker meditates on the nature of their relationship and how it is symbolized by the black ring. 

A Lecture upon the Shadow

by John Donne

‘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

by John Donne

‘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.

Air and Angels

by John Donne

‘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.

Break of Day

by John Donne

‘Break of Day’ by John Donne is an aubade told from a female perspective. It conveys a woman’s understanding of her relationship with a busy lover. 

Death, be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10)

by John Donne

‘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.

Elegy V: His Picture

by John Donne

‘Elegy V’ by John Donne is addressed to the poet’s lover. He asks her to accept him when he returns, despite the fact that he’s going to look and act differently.

Holy Sonnet 17 (XVII)

by John Donne

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 II

by John Donne

‘Holy Sonnet II’ by John Donne is the second in a series of religious sonnets that Donne is well-known for. This poem is directed to God and explores a speaker’s concerns about their fate. 

Holy Sonnet IV

by John Donne

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.

Holy Sonnet IX

by John Donne

‘Holy Sonnet IX’ by John Donne, also known by its first line ‘If poisonous minerals, and if that tree’ is one of several “Holy Sonnets” the poet composed during his lifetime. This particular poem focuses on a dispute between the speaker and God.

Lovers’ Infiniteness

by John Donne

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

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