Death Be Not Proud

In memory of those who died at Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007.

Death Be Not Proud

by John Donne (1573-1631)

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 souls 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 then thy stroke; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…

(Deuteronomy 33:27)

2 Responses

  1. lindafay says:

    Thanks for sharing this. We are grieving a different loss-those that died for their faith in my country today. They were our friends. This poem is a comfort.

  2. Thank you, Lindafay, for sharing your loss. I think poetry is a very real expression of “a word fitly spoken.” I’m glad it brought comfort.

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