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John Donne
1572 - 1631



The Author

John Donne was born in London into a devout Roman Catholic family in 1572. He attended Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and as a law student Lincoln's Inn in London. But his religion debarred him from taking an university degree. He took part in the expeditions to Cadiz and the Azores. In 1598 he became private secretary to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. After having been dismissed he was desperately working to catch the eye of influential people at Court and refused to take holy orders. But James I urged him to enter the church and made him a chaplain-in-ordinary. He died in London in 1631. As a preacher he was very famous in his age, but his poems for the most part did not appear until after his death.

The Work

Songs and Sonnets
The Progress of the Soul (1601)
Letters in Verse
Epicedes and Obsequies
Pseudo-Martyr (1610)
Ignatius his Conclave (1611)
Anniversaries (1611/12)
Divine Poems
Divine Meditations
Devotions on Emergent Occasions (1624)
Biathanatos, a treatise on suicide
Essays in Divinity


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