John Donne (1572-1631) is best known as the greatest English metaphysical poet. But there was another dimension to Donne's life and writing that, if less well known, is no less profound and beautiful.
Born into an aristocratic Catholic family, Donne joined the Church of England at the age of twenty-one out of fear of persecution. At the age of forty-three, he gave up his preoccupations with secular prestige and devoted himself utterly to religion. It was eight years later when, battered with fever, the deaths of his beloved wife, several of his children, and many dear lifelong friends, he composed Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. There is both trauma and great drama in this extended meditation on the meaning of mortality, the possibility of salvation, and the true nature of the passage of eternal life. With a new introduction by poet and biographer Andrew Motion, one of the most revered books of Christian devotion speaks to us again of the higher aspirations of man and the always-present possibility of a relationship with God.
This long out of print edition also contains Donne's last sermon, "Death's Duel" as well as the short colorful biography of him written by his contemporary Izaak Walton.