John Donne was born in 1572 in London into the family of a tradesman. In 1588 he left Oxford without taking his degree, which would have obliged him to take the oath of supremacy. In 1592 Donne entered Lincoln’s Inn as a law-student: attending plays, seducing woman and composing poetry. After this decade in the high school, he became chief secretary of an important court official, Sir Thomas Egerton, whose niece Donne secretly married in 1601. He became such famous for his protestant sermons that in 1615 James I appointed him Royal Chaplain. In the following decade he won fame and respect as a formidable preacher and writer. Donne seriously ill in 1630 and died in the same year.
As his life, also his poetry is divided into two halves: secular and sacred one. The secular side is represented by love poetry.
This Sonnet was published in 1633, and was written after the death of Donne’s wife, Ann More. in this play Donne wrote that
- Death thinks wrongly that can kill people
- Death is a long sleep, and sleep is pleasant for everyone
- Death can’t control facts and people
- Poison and poppy are better way to sleep
Both syntax and themes are difficult, but the words of the text are simple and belong to every day English.
age, the sacred one is expressed in the Holy Sonnet.
The main convention he broke was the Petrarchan model of lover and his lady. There are the same ability both secular poetry and sacred poetry, like Holy Sonnet. Donne’s example inspire a new school of poets, known as ‘the metaphysical poets’.