John Donne

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

No Man Is An Island - Poem by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.


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 No Man Is An Island by John Donne

  • (4/27/2017 3:08:00 AM)


    Any man's death diminishes him. we are capable of learning unlike animals.Crows crow at the carcass of their friend. Perhaps it diminishes them. They crow in a chorus.That lead us to live life ideally in a collective fashion, old
    clan camp.in an exalted manner. as different from the present day individualistic manner.Brilliant poem
    (Report) Reply

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  • Oratile Diratsagae (4/15/2017 2:52:00 AM)


    this is good. peace (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2017 8:43:00 PM)


    Most of us go about our lives not realing how mch influence we have on the people surrounding us. The influence is for good or for ill. The poet John Dunne writes in the hope of influencing us that we may open our eyes to this truth. Therefore, in this light, be inspired by his words, roll up your shirtsleeves, and encourage someone, So easy to become appethetic. Get involved for the good. Someone is waiting to be cared about. Listen to them. (Report) Reply

  • (3/7/2017 6:00:00 PM)


    Tears come to my eyes: any mans death diminishes me..; why today so very few people are involved in Mankinde? ! (Report) Reply

    Ingeborg Von Finsterwalde Ingeborg Von Finsterwalde (3/12/2017 6:44:00 AM)

    Good question Roberto.

  • (3/7/2017 8:56:00 AM)


    Poets are morons. We fight wars to kill people. Look where we are today with all these extra people laying around, mostly morons. Where will we be if we don't kill that North Korean runt before he gets off one of his ICBMs? You think his death would diminish you? (Report) Reply

    Alwi Shatry Alwi Shatry (3/26/2017 8:20:00 PM)

    One-dimensional man. I would have respected your concern if you said the same thing about the war criminals populating the American and European landscapes. Too many to list here, but obviously non-existent in your book.

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (1/26/2017 1:09:00 PM)


    No man is an island

    True talk. We need one another to cohabit and coexist.
    Life is all about lean on me.

    Nice poem from an icon - John Donne.
    (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (12/31/2016 4:27:00 PM)

    tom allport
    we are better together than apart, it is how we as a collective will conquer the stars. (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2016 9:14:00 AM)


    ❤❤❤ (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (8/13/2016 6:56:00 PM)


    It never loses its beauty, poignancy, or grandeur. Pleased to read it yet again- tis lines to nurture the soul (Report) Reply

  • (8/13/2016 5:11:00 PM)


    A deeply spiritually enveloping message that everyman (and woman) are patterned of the whole, be it of creed, race, age, religion, that the whole is greater then the sum. Important to remember in these times. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/13/2016 3:51:00 PM)


    Entire of itself! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (8/13/2016 3:38:00 PM)


    One of the most wonderful poems! (Report) Reply

  • Partha Pratim Goswami (8/13/2016 1:39:00 PM)


    I have been swept away by the verse and every word placed with so much accuracy-a simply great poem. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton (8/13/2016 6:23:00 AM)


    One of the most famous and perfect poems in the English language and people give it a 7.7? (Report) Reply

  • (8/13/2016 5:26:00 AM)


    Because I am involved in mankind Great write. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (8/13/2016 2:52:00 AM)


    Great influence this message has to mankind as man is a social animal. If one part of the continent is affect by sea its influence will be there in other parts also. So also, if one man's tragedy will be aving effects on others also as all are connected chain to each other in the world! (Report) Reply

  • Akachukwu Lekwauwa (8/13/2016 12:51:00 AM)


    how better the world would be if all men take such outlook at life (Report) Reply

  • (6/29/2016 7:38:00 AM)


    So aptly quoted by PJ Harvey at Glastonbury on 26 June 2016. (Report) Reply

  • (6/25/2016 10:47:00 AM)


    I wish someone had forced all those who voted to leave the EU to read this. (Report) Reply

    Stephen W (8/13/2016 2:40:00 AM)

    A remark which shows deep incomprehension of your fellow human beings: -)

  • Udaya R. Tennakoon (4/5/2016 4:51:00 AM)


    For today and tomorrow donne is valid when we think of the globe. (Report) Reply

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# 32 poem on top 500 Poems

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Read poems about / on: sea, death, friend



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 30, 2013


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