03-11-08

Death be not proud by John Donne (17th century Englisch poet)

“Death Be Not Proud” is among the most famous and most beloved poems in English literature. Its popularity lies in its message of hope couched in eloquent, quotable language. Donne’s theme tells the reader that death has no right to be proud, since human beings do not die but live eternally after “one short sleep.” Although some people depict death as mighty and powerful, it is really a lowly slave that depends on luck, accidents, decrees, murder, disease, and war to put men to sleep. But a simple poppy (whose seeds provide a juice to make a narcotic) and various charms (incantations, amulets, spells, etc.) can also induce sleep–and do it better than death can. After a human being’s soul leaves the body and enters eternity, it lives on; only death dies.  

Text of the PoemAnnotations
Death, be not proud, though some have called theeDeath . . .proud: Personification/metaphor in which death is compared
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;to a person
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,overthrow: kill
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,thy pictures be: rest and sleep mimic death
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,soonest: willingly; as soon as
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.Line 8: their bones go to their earthly rest but their souls do not die
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,slave: death is only a servant of events that end life: bad luck,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;accidents, royal decrees, murder, war, and illness
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as wellpoppy or charms: charms and drugs made from poppy seeds can
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?also induce sleep–and do it better than death can
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,why swell'st thou: why do you swell with pride?
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

23:51 Gepost door Sanguinfonds in Boeken | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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