Donne's Religious Poems

ENGL 520

Dr. Fike


Donne's Devotions

  1. Apply the elements of critical thinking to one of the Devotions. 
  2. Make a connection between “A Hymn to God my God, in my sickness” and one or more of the Devotions, which concern Donne’s sickness.
  3. Establish connections between the Sermon and any of Donne’s other religious works for today.  For example, consider the word “straits” on pages 127 and 134.  Despair (136) is a good connection to the Holy Sonnets.
  4. Or explore the Platonic connection on page 138.
  5. How could page 143 be read as the mature Donne’s reply to his earlier Holy Sonnets?


Find examples of these concepts in Donne's Holy Sonnets:

What conclusions does Donne reach in the Sonnets?  Alternatively, what conclusions can we reach about his thinking in the Sonnets? 


Questions on Sonnet 14 ("Batter my heart...")

  1. What is Donne’s conceit?

  2. What is the effect of the phrase "Three-person’d God"?  It conveys an impression of triple strength for battering, and the three persons are to operate individually:

  3. What paradoxes do you find in the poem?

  4. How do you read the final line?

  5. Rhyme and meter:  What is the rhyme scheme of this poem?  And do you find any exceptions to iambic pentameter?