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 pictures be,
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 art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
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.
(“Death Be Not Proud” is one of the most famous poems in English literature. Its popularity lies in its subtle poetic language and in establishing that there is death only to the mortal frame and not to the soul. Donne beautifully analyses that death is a slave in the hands of Fate, chance and perverted people who perpetrate it by virtue of their power, arrogance, greed or hatred. He even compares that things like Poppy seeds from which a potion is produced to induce sleep, work better as sedative. He says while the mortal remains are consigned to elements, after a brief interlude, the soul awakens to reincarnate, a faith in the immortality … a common strain of Donne’s times, which incidentally matches oriental thought. This was originally titled as Holy Sonnet X. … translator. )