John Donne was primarily a popular minister in the seventeenth century; however, his poems were considered his greatest work. Donne named part of his poetry the Holy Sonnets because they dealt with religious topics. "Death, be not proud" is Holy Sonnet 10.
The poem follows the Petrarchan sonnet form. It has fourteen lines with three quatrains, and an ending couplet. The first eight lines follow a set rhyme scheme and then, most frequently, cdcdcd; but, this poem finishes with cddcaa. When writers talk to something that cannot answer or respond, this literary device is called an "apostrophe." This is the most recognized example of an apostrophe in literature.
The first quatrain focuses on the subject and audience of the...
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