Flea By John Donne Conceits on John Donnes “The Flea” John Donne was born into an old Roman Catholic family. At age 11 he entered the University of Oxford, where he studied for three years. He spent the next three years at the University on Cambridge, but took no degree at either university. In 1593, Donnes younger brother died in prison after being arrested for harboring a priest. Donne relinquished his Roman Catholic faith and joined the Anglican Church.
His first book of poems, Satires, was written during this period and was considered one of Donnes most important literary efforts. Songs and Sonnets was also written about this same time. Donne sat in Queen Elizabeths last parliament until 1601, when he secretly married seventeen-year-old Anne More, and was thereby imprisoned. During the next few years Donne made a meager living as a lawyer. As Donne approached forty, he published two anti-Catholic polemics that pledged an oath of allegiance to James I, king of England, and won him the favor of the king.
He was appointed Royal Chaplain later that year. In due course, he was appointed Reader in Divinity at Lincolns Inn Anne Donne died in 1617, aged thirty-three after giving birth to their twelfth child. Donne continued to write poetry. In 1621 James I appointed him dean of Saint Pauls Cathedral; he held that position until his death.