40 Important Facts That Everbody should know about John Donne

40 Important Facts That Everbody should know about John Donne



Nationality – English
Lifespan -  22 January,1572 - 31 March, 1631
Place of Birth – Bread Street, London, U.K.
Father – John Donne
Mother – Elizabeth Heywood
Education – No Early Schooling, Oxford and Cambridge
Career - Poet, essayist, attorney, courtier and minister
Style of Composition- Metaphysical

1.     Donne was a chief exponent of Metaphysical School of poetry.
2.     By religion Donne was a Roman Catholic. 
3.     The Roman Catholic religion was illegal in England at that time.
4.     Interestingly, John Donne shared exactly the similar name as his father.
5.     His father John Donne was a rich ironmonger and a well-respected person.
6.     His mother Elizabeth Heywood was the daughter of John Heywood, a famous playwright and a grand-daughter of Thomas More, the author of Utopia.
7.     John had five siblings of which he was the third eldest.
8.     His father died when John was only four.
9.     His mother remarried a physician who took much care of his education.
10.                        He was educated at home till he was 11.
11.                        After that he was admitted to Hart Hall, Oxford and then to Cambridge for a short period.
12.                        Strangely he returned home from both universities without taking a degree as it required the swearing of the oath of allegiance to the Protestant queen which his religion forbade.
13.                        He began attending Thavies Inn legal school in 1591, a year later, he was admitted to one of the Inns of Court, Lincoln's Inn as a law student.
14.                        It was probably in 1595-96 that he went abroad, visiting Spain and Italy.
15.                        Later he joined the expeditions of Essex to Cadiz in 1596 and the Azores in 1597.
16.                        In 1598 he renounced the Roman Catholicism.
17.                        He became Sir Thomas Egerton's chief secretary. He was the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (an officer of the English Crown). He was based at Thomas Egerton's home in London.
18.                        He married Anne Moore, the niece of Thomas Egerton in secret in 1601.
19.                        He was dismissed from job and put into jail.
20.                        The wedding was proved valid and John was released.
21.                        Walton tells us that when Donne wrote to his wife to tell her about losing his post, he wrote after his name: John Donne, Anne Donne, (Un-done)
22.                        It was not until 1609 that Donne was reconciled with his father-in-law and received his wife's dowry.
23.                        After he was released from prison, John Donne lived in a small house with his wife, Anne, in Pyrford, Surrey. The house was owned by Sir Francis Wooly who was a cousin of Anne. The couple stayed there until 1604.
24.                        They moved to Mitcham, London where John Donne worked as a lawyer. He didn't earn a great salary and found it a great struggle to pay for the upkeep of his family. They lived very much in poverty during these years.
25.                        John Donne and his wife Anne were married for 16 years. During this time, they had twelve children.
26.                        Two of the children were stillbirths and sadly, the couple couldn't afford their burial expenses.
27.                        The surviving children were called Constance, John, George, Francis, Lucy, Bridget, Mary, Nicholas, Margaret, and Elizabeth.
28.                        His wife, Anne Donne, died 5 days following the birth of a stillborn baby, the couple's 12th child on 15 th August, 1617.
29.                        He was deeply saddened and grief stricken by his wife's death. He ‘became crucified to the world’ as he said. He wrote of his feelings in a sonnet called the 17th Holy Sonnet: 'Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt. To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead'.
30.                        John Donne served twice as a member of parliament, the first time in 1601 and the second time in 1614. The position was unpaid.
31.                        He was ordained into the Church of England in 1615 following King James I’s wish to take holy orders.
32.                        He was ordained into the Church of England in 1615 following King James I’s wish to take holy orders.
33.                        The following year, he became a Reader of Divinity at Lincoln's Inn, he served as minister in the chapel for approximately four years.
34.                        Very little of Donne’s verse appeared in print during his lifetime.
35.                        His poetry is generally divided into two types- love lyrics and religious verse.
36.                        Most of his poems for which he is best known belong to the pre-marriage days, contained in Songs and Sonnets.
37.                        His well-known poems are: “The Good Morrow”, “The Canonization”, “Go and Catch a Falling Star”, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”, “Death be Not Proud”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Sunne Rising” etc.
38.                        There appeared his Collected Poems after his death.
39.                        He died on March 31, 1631 in London, England at 59 years of age. The cause of death is thought to have been stomach cancer.
40.                        He was buried in Saint Paul's Cathedral. A memorial statue in honor of his death can be seen on show in the present day building in London.
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