Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  202. Death

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

John Donne. 1573–1631

202. Death

DEATH, be not proud, though some have callèd 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 picture be,         5
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’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, 
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;  10
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well 
And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then? 
  One short sleep past, we wake eternally, 
  And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!