John Donne: English Poet and Cleric

John Donne wrote poetry inspired by biblical themes.

He wrote one poem called “The Lamentations of Jeremy,” a poetic translation of Lamentations from Latin into English.

Donne is noted for his transformation from womanizer to Reverend Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral—a poet who became a priest in 1615 at the insistence of King James.
The artistry of his poems became the artistry of his sermons; prose largely unnoticed until decades after his death.

When “Donne’s Sermons: Selected Passages” was published in 1919, the Quarterly Review called them “a masterpiece of English prose.”

In 1632, Donne gave one of his last and best-known sermons, a meditation on Jesus's last hours, using the text of Psalm 68:

“And unto God the Lord belong the issues of death.”


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