John Donne was an English poet, artist, satirist, lawyer and priest. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems and others. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of his contemporaries. His style is characterized by abrupt openings, various paradoxes, ironies, dislocations. These features in combination with his frequent dramatic or everyday speech rhythms, his tense syntax, and his tough eloquence were both a reaction against the smoothness of conventional Elizabethan poetry and an adaptation into English of European baroque and mannerist techniques. His early career was marked by poetry that bore immense knowledge of British society and he met that knowledge with sharp criticism. Another important theme in Donne’s poetry was the idea of true religion, which was something that he spent a lot of time considering and theorizing about. He wrote secular poems as well as erotic poems and love poems. Donne is particularly famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits.
Despite his great education and poetic talents, he lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. He spent much of the money he inherited during and after his education on womanising, literature, pastimes and travel. In 1601 Donne secretly married Anne Moore with whom he had 12 children. In 1615 he became an Anglican priest although he did not want to take Anglican orders. He did so because King James I persistently ordered it. In 1621, he was appointed theDean of St Paul's Cathedral in London. He also served as a member of parliament in 1601 and again in 1614.
NO lover saith, I love, nor any other
Can judge a perfect lover ;
He thinks that else none can or will agree,
That any loves but he ;
I cannot say I loved, for who can say
He was kill'd yesterday.
Love with excess of heat, more young than old,
Death kills with too much cold ;
We die but once, and who loved last did die,
He that saith, twice, doth lie ;
For though he seem to move, and stir a while,
It doth the sense beguile.
Such life is like the light which bideth yet
When the life's light is set,
Or like the heat which fire in solid matter
Leaves behind, two hours after.
Once I loved and died ; and am now become
Mine epitaph and tomb ;
Here dead men speak their last, and so do I ;
Love-slain, lo ! here I die.
GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
Posted by Adalton Silva