Holy Sonnet X
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.
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.
John Donne (1572–1631) is the author of Holy Sonnets, also known as the Divine Meditations or Divine Sonnets, a series of nineteen sonnets first published in 1633. Though the collection was published posthumously, modern scholars agree that the composition of the poems dates from 1609–1610. Donne also wrote numerous other collections of poetry and prose.
This poem is in the public domain.