John Donne

c.1572-1631

 

John Donne is buried in St Paul's Cathedral, London, England. Also buried here is Sir Philip Sidney.

A statue was built in his memory by Nicholas Stone based upon a drawing commissioned by Donne himself as he lay dying. It was one of the few to survive the Great Fire of London (1666). However, faint traces of scorching can be seen on the urn beneath.

In 1601 Donne secretly married Ann More, the neice of Lady Egerton, and as a result lost his position as private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton. He also lost his seat as MP for Brackley and was briefly imprisoned.

For the next 14 years Donne struggled to find a public role for himself. However, in 1615 he entered the church and in 1621 he was made Dean of St. Paul's by King James, but ill health forced him to leave this post in 1623. One year later he recovered sufficiently to became the vicar of St.Dunstan's-in-the-West, Fleet Street.

Donne Monument

He preached his last sermon - Death's Duel - on the 1st Friday of Lent 1631 in the presence of King Charles I and died on 31st March.

His famous lines: 'No man is an island' and 'never send to know for whom the bell tolls' are not actually taken from his poems but from his sermons which were edited by his son John. (Hemingway used For Whom the Bell Tolls as the title for his Spanish Civil War novel.)

Donne's poetic output includes elegies, satires and many tender love poems.

See also aubade and metaphysical poets.  

All other things, to their destruction draw,
   Only our love hath no decay;
This no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,
Running it never runs from us away,
But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.

The Anniversary (complete poem)

Read more of Donne's Poetry
 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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