This collection of John Donne's poetry contains love poems, elegies, metaphysical verse, and offers sections from the "Satires" and the "Epithalamions". It includes a biographical narrative placing each poem in context and illuminating its significance.
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John Donne was born in 1572 to a Roman Catholic family. After an adventurous youth-he voyaged with Essex and Raleigh and was a "great visitor of ladies"-he was imprisoned in 1601 for contracting an illicit marriage. Donne spent the next fourteen years trying to live down this disgrace. He renounced Catholicism, entered the established church and after much ingenious maneuvering he eventually became Dean of St. Paul's. Donne's poetry, he liked to say, was the mistress of his youth; divinity was the wife of his maturity. In consequence his impassioned and "conceited" verses were not published in his lifetime. He died, a vaunted holy man, in 1631.
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