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Holy Sonnet 10

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by

Johnathan Schaeffer

on 9 January 2015

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Transcript of Holy Sonnet 10

Holy Sonnet 10
By John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are 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.

Lines 1-4
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

This is essentially the main point of the entire poem. Donne tells Death to not be proud. Some people have called Death powerful, but Donne claims Death is not. Death may believe he has defeated those who die, but Donne states those people do not truly die because their souls live on in the afterlife. According to Donne and the poem, people who die are only dead momentarily, then they live along with all other spirits in Heaven. This is why Donne claims Death cannot kill him.
Lines 5-9
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

In the renaissance dreaming was as a brief death and if sleep is enjoyable than (in a christian view) how enjoyable will the afterlife be with the lord. And that death just frees a man's soul
Line 10-14
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.

Death thinks that has all control when men die but in reality its fate you has control. And he mentions that poppy and charms imitate sleep and questions why death is so proud.When Donne says "Death, thou shalt die" is saying he is passing into heaven where death is no more
Full transcript