"Death, be not proud" by John Donne

This poem is one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets, a series of nineteen connected poems in which Donne explores his spiritual devotion. Read the poem here.

Here are links to our lists for other poems by John Donne: "The Canonization", "The Flea", "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning", "Song: Go and catch a falling star", "The Sun Rising"
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definitions & notes only words
  1. proud
    feeling self-respect, self-esteem, or self-importance
    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so
  2. mighty
    having or showing great strength, force, or intensity
    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so
  3. dreadful
    causing fear or terror
    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so
  4. overthrow
    cause the downfall of
    For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
    Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
  5. flow
    move or progress freely
    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.
  6. delivery
    recovery or preservation from loss or danger
    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.
  7. fate
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    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?
  8. desperate
    arising from or marked by anguish or loss of hope
    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?
  9. dwell
    exist or be situated within
    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?
  10. poppy
    annual or biennial or perennial herbs having showy flowers
    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?
  11. charm
    a verbal formula believed to have magical force
    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?
  12. stroke
    a single complete movement
    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?
  13. swell
    become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger
    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?
  14. eternal
    continuing forever or indefinitely
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally
    And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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