Death, Be Not Proud

Pilgrim of the Cross at the End of His Journey. Thomas Cole. 1848.


Death, Be Not Proud

John Donne, 1633


Death, be not proud, though some have called 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 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 soul’s delivery.

Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, 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.

2 thoughts on “Death, Be Not Proud”

    1. I’ve only recently discovered Thomas Cole, and have so enjoyed studying his romantic landscapes and dramatic series. This painting is one of an uncompleted sequence contrasting the journey of a pilgrim of the world with that of a pilgrim of the cross.

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