John Donne: Poems

Donne in popular culture

  • The lines "I runne to Death, and Death meets me as fast, and all my Pleasures are like Yesterday" from the "Holy Sonnet VII" are being quoted in the final scene of Val Lewton's 1943 horror movie The Seventh Victim. Another Lewton produced film, Cat People (1942) directed by Jacques Tourneur, closes with a quote from the Holy Sonnets: "But black sin hath betrayed to endless night. My world's both parts and, O, both parts must die."
  • In 1962, Donne's works were cited by physicist Robert Oppenheimer as having been the inspiration for choosing the code name "Trinity" for the first nuclear bomb test,[25] specifically the passage
    As West and East
    In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one,
    So death doth touch the Resurrection.
    from the poem "Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness",[26] and the opening line to Holy Sonnets, Holy Sonnet 14:[27]
    Batter my heart, three person'd God
  • John Renbourn, on his 1966 debut album John Renbourn, sings a version of the poem, "Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star". (He alters the last line to "False, ere I count one, two, three.")
  • Tarwater, in their album Salon des Refusés, have put "The Relic" to song.
  • Bob Chilcott has arranged a choral piece to Donne's "Go and Catch a Falling Star".
  • Van Morrison pays tribute to the poet in "Rave On John Donne" from his album "Inarticulate Speech of the Heart" and makes references in many other songs.
  • Lost in Austen, the British mini series based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, has Bingley refer to Donne when he describes taking Jane to America, "John Donne, don't you know? 'License my roving hands,' and so forth."
  • Las Cruces, in their album Ringmaster, used a sample of "Death be not Proud" from the movie The Exorcist III for their song "Black Waters".
  • In the beginning of the movie About a Boy, the quiz show mentions "No man is an island", asking the competitors who coined the phrase. Donne is one of the answers and is of course, the correct answer. Hugh Grant, the main character, turns off the TV before viewers are given the answer, and he himself answers the question incorrectly.
  • In the computer game The Walking Dead, one of the side characters, Chuck, says "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for thee", a common misquotation of a passage from Donne's "Meditation XVII".
  • Michael John Trotta has used the text from "Break of Day" in a choral setting for SATB voices.
  • Donne's poem 'Love's Deity' serves as the lyrical basis for the song "God of Love" by Stereo Alchemy featuring Melissa Kaplan.
  • The Lady and the Poet by Maeve Haran is a work of historical fiction, detailing the life of Donne's wife Ann More, her meeting, and subsequent illicit relationship with Donne himself.
  • In the opening scene of the episode “Rent” of the television series “Outlander” (S01E05), Caitriona Balfe, as Claire Randall, and soon joined by Bill Paterson, as Ned Gowan, recites the opening stanza of the poem “Absence, Hear thou my Protestation”, which they attribute to John Donne:
    Absence, hear thou my protestation
    Against thy strength,
    Distance and length:
    Do what thou canst for alteration;
    For hearts of truest mettle
    Absence doth still [sic: join], and time doth settle.
    However, the poem should be attributed to the poet, John Hoskins.

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