The Comparative and Contrast Analysis of John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud" and Claude Mckay's "If We Must Die"


Death be Not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have call thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest of sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave of fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thou stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

By John Donne The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 1983. Third Edition, p.222.

If We Must Die

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and panned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

By Claude McKay The Black Poets Dudley Randall (ed.). 1971. p:63.


In my opinion, “Death be Not Proud by John Donne” and “If We Must Die by Claude McKay” are quite interesting to observe. Both of them are unique in a sense that they have their own characteristics over their similarities. Here, I will analyze it from the construction of the form and also the figure of speech used.  
First, both poems are in the form of sonnet consist of 14 lines...