by John Donne
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This sermon, the last one Donne gave, was later described as his own funeral sermon.
It portrays life as a slow descent into sickness and death, yet points towards the hope
of redemption, salvation, and resurrection. As Donne battled illness towards his life's
end, death remained a constant theme of both his pastoral and poetic works, including
his classic Holy Sonnet X, “Death Be Not Proud.” While some, such as Samuel Johnson
and John Dryden, have criticized Donne's work for being dry and passionless, Donne
consistently wrote and spoke on matters deeply personal to him. In this sermon, at least,
the then dying Donne's passion is clearly evident.