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(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

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No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem - the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

'No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee....'

Comments about this poem (A Valediction Of Weeping by John Donne )

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  • Hardik Vaidya (2/21/2013 5:21:00 AM)

    This is a poem, and it needs a larger canvass of consciousness. It is an equation of humanity where the fundamental assumption is all men are born good. And therefore all men lost be they lost to death or lost to the death of wisdom is a eternal loss, and the bell tolls for all men. I am awed by th canvass of the poem.

    45 person liked.
    39 person did not like.
  • Peyton Webb (10/6/2012 12:41:00 PM)

    I love this poem! ! ! ! We had to read it in Advanced English and I fell in love with it.

  • Ashwini Ahir (2/21/2012 11:50:00 AM)

    this one is simple and short. salute you john donne. i dont like short poems but this one just dont need to be large. everything is explained in few words.

  • Carlos Echeverria (2/21/2012 10:09:00 AM)

    A distillation of philosophy and science into a classic poem..

  • Manonton Dalan (2/21/2012 4:05:00 AM)

    i trying to be an island
    but my life is connecting
    me to the mainlandmd

  • Smoky Hoss (2/21/2011 7:33:00 PM)

    What would have diminished Donne more, the death of Hitler or the death of the millions in Europe who died due to his leadership?

  • Howard 'the motivational poet' Simon (2/21/2011 6:02:00 PM)

    As humans we are social beigns; we need relationships in order to survive. Though all nations aspire to be independent, the cry of the human heart is for interdependence. We need each other!

  • Herman Chiu (2/21/2010 9:25:00 PM)

    And let mankind's civilizations never forget: Faith and Unity.

  • Edmund Wong (2/21/2010 8:22:00 PM)

    I don't think Craddock is comparing Donne with Hitler. He is merely saying not all men are equal: some of them are so evil and injurious to the rest that they should not be part of humanity. If we define 'man' to be someone who deserves to be part of humanity in which every man, connected to one another, promotes the welfare of mankind as a whole, then Hitler and his likes can hardly NOT be excluded as “men”. What Donne expresses is not an argument but a petition for mercy and sympathy licensed to poetry.

  • Michael Pruchnicki (2/21/2010 6:02:00 PM)

    Relax, Craddock! Fear not, the 'poem' is really a meditation on our short span of life, written by a devout cleric who had endured his share of trespassing on what he considered God's laws. The most Donne ever did wrong was engage in some adulterous behavior with the ladies of the court! To even compare this devout man with Adolf Hitler (or Josef Stalin who was a novice cleric in the Russian Orthodox faith as a young man) is to confuse apples with oranges! One named Donne did his damned-est to disobey his God but consider the monsters known as Hitler and Stalin and what they wrought! Note also that in the West (including the USA and the UK) Stalin is forgiven his destruction of entire nations from the Volga to the Yalu and beyond!

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