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Donne & Herbert

             In poetry of the Seventeenth Century, many different views can be discovered about time and death. Perceptions of time and death have been symbolized throughout history. Often they can be categorized with the same meaning. Time and death has been given different personas such as good or evil. Poets, John Donne and George Herbert can be among the most well known authors that characterized time and death. In Donne's "Holy Sonnet 10", he directly approaches Death. In Herbert's, "Time" he also addresses death, but calls it time. From two very different prospectives, Donne and Herbert both directly address death and its effect on civilization dealing with God and eternal life.
             In John Donne's "Holy Sonnet 10", Donne approaches Death with an aggressive approach, using a serious and yet belittling tone. The opening of the poem, "Death, be not proud for thou art not so;" (1-2) shows his challenge to Death's authority and power. He goes on to tell Death, "those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow/ Die not, poor Death nor yet canst thou kill me." (3-4) Donne condemns and challenges Death's power over human beings. Donne explains his bravery to Death by expressing that if Death is like sleep than he would be better off still. When he goes on to say, "From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, / Much pleasure,"(5-6) he tries to express that rest and sleep are images of Death and makes dying appear to be something that is wonderful. If they are pleasing, it shows that Death itself must be more enjoyable, When Donne continues, "And soonest our best men with thee do go, / Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery," he explains that Death has an advantage over sleep, which is the ability to discharge our souls from earth. .
             Donne continues in his poem by implying that Death is a "slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men," (9) and this conveys his opinion that like these things that Death doesn't have power over, he doesn't have power over us either.

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