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John Donne's Sermon Preached at the Spital

by John Donne

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Most people who know the name “John Donne” remember the man for his poetry. During his lifetime, however, Donne had achieved fame for his sermons, and he expected they would remain his claim to fame as the centuries passed. Donne delivered this sermon at the Priory of St. Mary Without Bishopgate, a hospital and almshouse founded in 1197. Every year since the 14th century, a prominent English clergyman has come to the hospital to give a sermon, often on the topic of the Resurrection or the spread of Truth. In 1622, Donne spoke on learning the truth of God’s glory. To acquiring this great knowledge, he said, one must first learn that all the glory of the world is a “mere nothing.” Readers of Donne will recognize in this sermon the same theme of the tension between worldliness and spirituality they find throughout his poetry.

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