John Donne Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1572 – 1631 *** Full Name: John Donne *** Date of Birth (Birthday): He was born on January 22, 1572 *** Place of Birth: John Donne was born in London, England *** Family background: His father was also called John Donne *** Early life and childhood: John Donne grew up and spent the majority of his life in London *** Education: John Donne began his education at home *** John Donne died on March 31, 1631.
John Donne Fact 1: John Donne was born on January 22, 1572 in London, England.
John Donne Fact 2: He was a famous English poet whose poems were strong and meaningful. He became the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets.
John Donne Fact 3: John Donne shared the same name as his father and was born into a Roman Catholic family. He had five siblings of which he was the third eldest. His father was a warden of the Ironmongers Company in London. His mother was called Elizabeth Heywood.
John Donne Fact 4: The Roman Catholic religion was illegal in England when John Donne was born. His father was a well respected man, a practicing Roman Catholic who feared persecution. He died when John Donne was only four years of age.
John Donne Fact 5: Following the death of his father in 1576, he was raised, along with his brothers and sisters, by their mother Elizabeth Heywood who was also a Roman Catholic.
John Donne Fact 6: At a young age, he was taught privately. John Donne joined Hart Hall in Oxford at the age of 11, in 1583, where he studied for three years.
John Donne Fact 7: He attended Cambridge University for three years, however, he didn't leave with a degree as he wouldn't agree to sign the Oath of Supremacy as he was a Roman Catholic. He began attending Thavies Inn legal school in 1591, a year later, he was admitted to one of the Inns of Court, Lincoln's Inn.
John Donne Fact 8: He received a considerable inheritance which afforded him a great social life and opportunities to travel across Europe.
John Donne Fact 9: Between 1596-1597, during his time in Europe, he battled with Sir Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Essex against the Spanish at Cadiz and the Azores.
John Donne Fact 10: When John Donne returned from his travels, he became Sir Thomas Egerton's chief secretary. He was the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (an officer of the English Crown). He was based at Thomas Egerton's home in London.
John Donne Fact 11: He married Anne Moore in secret in 1601. She was the niece of Thomas Egerton. He was dismissed from his job when Thomas Egerton found out about the marriage. He was sent to prison, along with Samuel Brooke, the minster who had married them, and the man who had witnessed their marriage. The wedding was proved valid and Brooke was released. The other men were released from prison shortly afterwards. The relationship with his father-in-law, Thomas Egerton, was not reconciled until 1609.
John Donne Fact 12: After he was released from prison, John Donne lived in a small house with his wife, Anne, in Pyrford, Surrey. The house was owned by Sir Francis Wooly who was a cousin of Anne. The couple stayed there until 1604.
John Donne Fact 13: They moved to Mitcham, London where John Donne worked as a lawyer. He didn't earn a great salary and found it a great struggle to pay for the upkeep of his family. They lived very much in poverty during these years.
John Donne Fact 14: John Donne and his wife Anne were married for 16 years. During this time, they had twelve children. Two of the children were stillbirths and sadly, the couple couldn't afford their burial expenses. The surviving children were called Constance, John, George, Francis, Lucy, Bridget, Mary, Nicholas, Margaret, and Elizabeth.
John Donne Fact 15: His wife, Anne Donne, died 5 days following the birth of a stillborn baby, the couple's 12th child. He was deeply saddened and grief stricken by his wife's death. He wrote of his feelings in a sonnet called the 17th Holy Sonnet: 'Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt. To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead'.
John Donne Fact 16: John Donne served twice as a member of parliament, the first time in 1601 and the second time in 1614. The position was unpaid.John Donne Fact 17: He was ordained into the Church of England in 1615 following King James I’s wish to take holy orders. He became a Royal Chaplain in 1615. The following year, he became a Reader of Divinity at Lincoln's Inn, he served as minister in the chapel for approximately four years.
John Donne Fact 18: John Donne wrote outstanding poetry with a profound and sensual style. He wrote various types of poetry including love poems, sonnets, mournful poems and elegies, poems about religion and relationships. His also wrote sermons and songs. He used irony, rhythms and extended metaphors in his writing.
John Donne Fact 19: Some of the most well known poems by John Donne include Death Be Not Proud, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Air and Angels, Good Morrow and No Man Is An Island.
John Donne Fact 20: He died on March 31, 1631 in London, England at 59 years of age. The cause of death is thought to have been stomach cancer. He was buried in Saint Paul's Cathedral. A memorial statue in honor of his death can be seen on show in the present day building in London.
John Donne Influence & Legacy: John Donne was a famous English poet who wrote sensual, profound poetry about love, relationships, religion and other deep subjects. His creative writing style often included the use of irony and extended metaphors. He wrote many poems during his lifetime as well as songs and sermons.
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