Structure and versification in Hymn to God, my God

The poem is written in iambic pentameter quintains, an unusual stanza form for Donne. The rhyming is ababb, enabling each stanza to end in a rhyming couplet. Here the effect is of completion and assurance. The sentence structures move unhurriedly through the stanzas, concluding neatly at the end of each. The argument thus moves on slowly but logically, perfectly controlled. The reader may feel that if we could be as much in control of our dying as Donne, we should die well pleased.

  • Read through Hymn to God, my God
    • What do you think are the strengths of the poem?
    • Are there any images that stand out for you?
    • What do you think is Donne's secret for a calm approach to death in this poem? After all, he seems troubled enough in some of his other religious poetry.
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