An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Donne, John

(1572-Mar. 31, 1631). Noted preacher and poet. He was born in London, sometime between Jan. 24 and June 19, 1572. Donne studied at Hart Hall, Oxford. In 1592 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn to study law. At about the same time, he had a gradual conversion from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England. In 1615 Donne was ordained priest, and King James I made him his royal chaplain. He continued to live in London, where he was appointed divinity reader of Lincoln's Inn. Donne soon became recognized as one of the leading preachers of the time. In 1621 he was appointed dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. His major publications were his sermons and his poetry. He is recognized as a great “metaphysical poet” in English literature. His sonnet, “Batter my heart, three person'd God,” is one of his classics. Two of his hymns are in The Hymnal 1982: “Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun” (140, 141), and “When Jesus died to save us” (322). He died in London. Donne's ministry is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Mar. 31.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.