Holy Ambition: Rhetoric, Courtship, and Devotion in the Sermons of John Donne

By Brent Nelson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Form as Proof in Deaths Duell

Psalm 68:20

AND UNTO GOD THE LORD BELONG

THE ISSUES OF DEATH, i.e. FROM DEATH.

[T]he lyfe in this world is resembled to a pilgrimage in a
straunge countrie far frome God and that death, delive-
rynge us from our bodyes, doth sende us straight home into
our awne countrey and maketh us to dwell presently with
God for ever in perpetuall rest and quietnesse. So that to
dye is no losse, but profite and winnynge to all true
Christen people.

Certain Sermons or Homilies (1547)532

THE BURDEN OF THIS CHAPTER IS TWOFOLD: to broaden the scope of this discussion of Donne's rhetorical treatment of death-ascourtship, and to answer the question of decorum raised by certain critics of Sermons 2:9 and Deaths Duell. The latter will be achieved at the conclusion of the chapter with reference to commentary provided in the printed preface to Deaths Duell and to Donne's elegy on Prince Henry. But first, I should like to account for the unique quality of Deaths Duell, which

532Certain Sermons or Homilies (1547) and A Homily against Disobedience and Wilful Rebellion (1570):
A Critical Edition, ed. Ronald A. Bond (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), 151.

-223-

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