Sermon Preached to the Lords upon Easter-day, at the Communion
by John Donne
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Most people who know the name “John Donne” remember the man for his poetry. During
his lifetime, however, Donne had achieved fame for his sermons, and he expected they
would remain his claim to fame as the centuries passed. Donne’s 1619 Easter sermon
would later become one of his greatest achievements in spite of the fact that he had to
give it on very short notice. At the time, King James I was ill enough that many feared
for his life. When Donne delivered his sermon to the English nobility, his message about
the inevitability of death fell on sympathetic ears. The sermon may remind readers of
Donne’s poetry of one of the poet’s best-known sonnets, “Death Be Not Proud.”