On his mother's side, Donne's ancestors included John Rastell (his maternal great-grandfather), who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John More and sister of Sir Thomas More. Their son William was the father of Edward Donne. On his father's side, he was also related to the More family, being a second cousin once removed of Lady Jane Donne, the wife of George Boleyn, Viscount Beauchamp.
They were wealthy landowners, and it is believed that they lived at Eastington in Gloucestershire. This area of England is near the Welsh border, so it is possible that Donne may have had some contact with Wales. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he earned degrees in both law and literature. It is not known when or for how long he practiced either profession, but it is believed that he held various government posts during this time. In 1621, he was appointed secretary to the Earl of Carlisle, who was then ambassador to the Holy See. Two years later, Donne was made an English priest by King James I. He died in 1631 at the age of forty-one.
Donne's work as a poet falls into three distinct periods. His early poems are satirical and political, written while he was still a student at Cambridge.
John Donne (born probably between January 24 and June 19, 1572 in London, England) is often regarded as the greatest love poet in English. He is especially known for his religious lyrics and treatises, as well as his sermons, which are considered to be among the greatest of the 17th century. Donne had a profound influence on William Shakespeare and George Herbert.
He was educated at Cambridge University and Lincoln's Inn, and later became a priest in the Church of England. During his lifetime he was very popular among the upper class of society, but after his death interest in him declined rapidly.
Now he is once again becoming popular among literary people and historians.
Donne's work pre-dating that of Shakespeare by about fifteen years made him the most famous writer of his time. He had an enormous impact on William Shakespeare and other poets who wrote during the Elizabethan era. Donne's metaphysical poems are still read today because they deal with such subjects as mortality, sin, and love in a way no other writer had done before him.
He is also regarded as one of the first British painters because some of his paintings were exhibited in London before Robert Peacock came over from Germany with a collection of drawings by Albrecht Dürer. However, only one of Donne's paintings is still existing today; this is "The Holy Trinity" which dates back to 1615.
"A Hymn to God the Father" is one of John Donne's "Holy Sonnets," in which he pleads for forgiveness of his faults after a careful examination of his life. John Donne was more than just a poet of holy poetry. He was an English priest and academic who played an important role in establishing the Church of England. Donne was born 1572 into a wealthy family in Devonshire, England, and he was educated at Cambridge University. After graduating in mathematics and philosophy, he became a member of Lincoln's Inn, an English legal society. Donne began writing poems while working as an attorney, and in 1614 he published his first collection, titled "Ejaculations from the Heart." This book established him as one of the leading poets of his time, and it was followed by several other volumes over the next few years. In 1621 Donne took a post as secretary to the ambassador of Portugal, and during his tenure in Lisbon he fell in love with and married another man's wife. When he returned to England, he was dismissed from his job and imprisoned for a month for violating the law against marrying outside of marriageable age. Despite all this, Donne continued to write about religion and morality. His most famous work is a series of seventeen sonnets entitled "Holy Sonnets." These poems were written to beg God for forgiveness for his sins after a careful examination of his life.
The majority of John Donne's writings deal with death, either directly or indirectly, yet death is inconsequential to him, whereas others fear it. He desired to be superior to the dreadful face of death rather than its slave and victim. Death was for him a great opportunity for spiritual growth since it offered a chance to perform good deeds and to avoid bad ones.
Donne's attitude toward death can be explained by his upbringing. He was born into a family who had wealth and position but he felt inadequate to succeed them. He wanted to excel in military service and use his talents to help his country but he was injured in battle. This caused him deep depression and he soon after died of tuberculosis.
Death was not feared by others because they did not know what came after death. They knew only that there was a time of life and then a sleep. Others thought that death was a very distant event that would happen when God decided it was time for you to go. Donne shattered this belief by explaining that death was neither remote nor accidental; it was an essential part of God's plan and everyone will die.
Donne also spoke about the pain of death. He said that just before you die your soul leaves your body and sees all kinds of things which cause fright and despair.