John Donne: An Influential English Poet

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John Donne, one of the greatest English poets and preachers of the 1600’s, greatly impacted the writing field through his works. In the first half of 1572 (actual date is unknown) he was born in London to John Donne, a merchant, and Elizabeth Heywood Donne, the daughter of the poet and playwright John Heywood. His father died when Donne was about four years old. His younger brother, Henry, also died in John Donne’s early life. John Donne was raised in a Catholic family. Both of his parents were devout Roman Catholics. During Donne’s early adult life he converted to Anglicanism.
The education of John Donne is somewhat confusing because the records are incomplete. There is record of his attending Cambridge and Oxford, but he never received a degree from either. At the time Donne was still a Roman Catholic. A requirement of graduation was to swear the oath of allegiance to the Protestant Queen. Because of being Catholic he was not able to meet this requirement (Pi 178). He continued his education at Lincoln’s Inn and The Inns of Court where he studied law. Having completed school, Donne began to work for the Earl of Essex by sailing on board the ships. This led to him working for Sir Thomas Egerton, “the lord keeper of the Great Seal and a member of Elizabeth’s Privy Council,” (Langstaff 347) as secretary. During this time Donne converted to Anglicanism and was made lord keeper. Donne also began writing but no poetry yet. He began writing his Paradoxes and Problems. He also fell in love with Egerton’s second wife’s niece, Anne More. Anne More’s father, Sir George More was the chancellor of the garter (Pi 178). The two secretly got married. John Donne did not tell her father for months after they were married. Th...

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...reat poets such as Coleridge, Eliot, and Browning. Donne’s poetry is not for all tastes and times (“John Donne” 1), but it greatly influenced the writing field. His influential and passionately delivered sermons and devotions have long lived him and are considered some of the greats. Again like his poems his sermons are not for everyone at all times. His sermons are very formal and convincing and reflect aspects from his poems.

Works Cited

“John Donne,” Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2014.
Langstaff, Richard W. “Donne, John.” Collier’s Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York, NY: P.F. Collier, 1996. 346-49. Print.
Pi, P. G. “Donne, John.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. Vol. 4. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002. 177-79. Print.
Stringer, Gary A. “Donne, John.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 2004 ed. Vol. 5. Chicago: World Book, 2004. 308. Print.
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