John Donne

By Madison Adams


John Donne was born somewhere between January 4th and June 19th, 1572. He was born in London, England. Donne also died in London on March 31st, 1631. He studied at Oxford in 1584 and he may have studied at Cambridge. Also, he studied law at Lincoln's Inn from 1592-1593. Donne's life was not necessarily an easy one. When his father suddenly died in 1576, Donne's mother Elizabeth was left to care for him and his brother. In 1593, Donne's brother Henry died of a fever from prison. Apart from his poetry and writing, Donne spent time in France and Germany. He also served as a member of Parliament in 1601 and 1614.


Donne spent many of his years working as an author and a poet. He also was a member of Parliament and had a Church career. Donne was ordained as a priest. He received a doctor of divinity degree from Cambridge. He was a reader in divinity at Lincoln's Inn. He also preached regularly at Lincoln's Inn. As a writer, he wrote many sonnets and poems. Some of his poems are Daybreak, Sweetest Love I Do Not Go, and The Dream.

The Dream

Coming and staying show'd thee, thee,

But rising makes me doubt, that now

Thou art not thou.

That love is weak where fear's as strong as he;

'Tis not all spirit, pure and brave,

If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have'

Perchance as torches, which must ready be,

Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;

Thou cam'st to kindle, goest to come; then I

Will dream that hope again. but else would die.

(Read entire poem here


One of Donne's pieces is a poem named The Dream which is about a dream in which Donne was in love, when he woke from the dream he was still in love. Donne realizes that love has pain and fear, but he will continue to dream of love. This piece was published some time after the death of Donne and can be found in books around the world. The poem is two stanzas, the first stanza has 20 lines and the second has 10, the rhyme structure is roughly structured, some rhymes are imperfect. Donne and his writing shows humanism because he is writing about humans and how they truly are instead of writing about gods. I find this piece interesting because I am fascinated by literature and enjoy reading different ways of writing, this poem was beautifully written.


  • "John Donne." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
  • "John Donne." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
  • "Poems of John Donne." poemhunter. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.