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Death's Duel

by John Donne

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This sermon, the last one Donne gave, was later described as his own funeral sermon. It portrays life as a slow descent into sickness and death, yet points towards the hope of redemption, salvation, and resurrection. As Donne battled illness towards his life's end, death remained a constant theme of both his pastoral and poetic works, including his classic Holy Sonnet X, “Death Be Not Proud.” While some, such as Samuel Johnson and John Dryden, have criticized Donne's work for being dry and passionless, Donne consistently wrote and spoke on matters deeply personal to him. In this sermon, at least, the then dying Donne's passion is clearly evident.

Kathleen O'Bannon
CCEL Staff
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About John Donne
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John Donne
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
Born: January 21, 1572, London, England
Died: March 31, 1631, London, England
Related topics: Church of England, Criticism, interpretation, etc., Donne, John,--1572-1631, England, English poetry--Early modern
Basic information: John Donne (between 24 January and 19 June 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet, satirist, lawyer and priest. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially compared to that of his contemporaries.
Popular works: John Donne's Devotions, Death's Duel, John Donne's Sermon Preached at the Spital, Sermon Preached to the Lords upon Easter-day, at the Communion