Donne, The Patriot Cause, and War, 1620–1629

Simon Healy

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199218608
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Donne, The Patriot Cause, and War, 1620–1629

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Donne's most famous lines were written as part of a spiritual meditation inspired by his own brush with death, but they also adumbrate a clear strategic viewpoint — that the survival of English Protestantism was threatened by Catholic enemies at home and on the continent, a position Donne maintained to the end of his life. This article traces John Donne the patriot and the causes and circumstances that led to a war in the early seventeenth century England. Englishmen who viewed domestic politics and international diplomacy in religious terms were particularly alarmed by the keystone of James's diplomacy, his plan to marry Prince Charles to a Habsburg princess. The price for such a match was widely assumed to be toleration for English Catholics, whose freedom of worship was circumscribed by recusancy laws draconian in their intent, though inconsistently enforced. This article also explains the Bohemian crisis along with religious dispute.

Keywords: John Donne; war; cause; patriotism; English Protestantism; Prince Charles

Article.  7262 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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