John Donne's Holy Sonnets by John Donne

Start Your Free Trial

What are some distinct characteristics of John Donne's "Holy Sonnets"?

Expert Answers info

vangoghfan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Some of the traits often found in John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets” are already apparent in the sonnet usually printed as the first in the collection – the sonnet beginning “Thou Hast Made Me.” Here are some traits found in this poem that are also found in many of the other “Holy Sonnets”:

  • Direct address to God (“Thou has made me” [1]).
  • A willingness to question God (“and shall thy work decay?” [1]).
  • The speaker’s sense of his own spiritual corruption and of his need for God’s intervention if the speaker hopes to achieve spiritual restoration (“Repair me now” [2]).
  • A pervasive worry that physical and spiritual death may be rapidly approaching:

. . .  for now mine end doth haste;

I run to death, and death meets me as fast . . . (2-3)

check Approved by eNotes Editorial