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

  • (4/22/2018 7:52:00 PM)


    WIQYE*() @HIHJ EYUIOQWEQWU: HEY! @IO#: IOWEQUIWEHILASUHDIUWQGHEIUQWEWEGHIPQWEUGQWPEQWEiGSAIEOUg (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (4/13/2018 5:11:00 PM)


    I think this is especially poignant in regards to the tragedy unfolding in Syria at this time (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 9:56:00 AM)


    This poem makes me moist inside (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 9:55:00 AM)


    That roast action though (Report) Reply

  • (4/11/2018 1:22:00 AM)


    This is the best poem ever because every time i practice i fell better because i did not use to it. (Report) Reply

  • (3/23/2018 1:35:00 AM)


    We have the hope resurrection when Christ return (Report) Reply

  • (2/28/2018 8:30:00 AM)


    My name is jeff (Report) Reply

    (3/1/2018 10:27:00 AM)

    Hi, , , ghhgvffhikkmmkoiijkvfsghkiytdcbj

  • (2/5/2018 11:32:00 AM)


    Encouraging.i love the first line (Report) Reply

  • (1/21/2018 9:25:00 AM)


    Or, as every fan of the Yes Minister series can't help hearing now: ...It tolls for THEE, Bernard! Not that this episode detracted from the sense of the thing.

    Looking it up because I wanted to remember it to friends involved in elder care and get it right. But not just now, maybe. Not sure they're in the mood.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/14/2018 6:57:00 PM)


    Love the Movie For Whom the bells toll. (Report) Reply

  • (1/13/2018 2:05:00 PM)


    Oh dear, oh dear. This website, which should be a reliable reference, lineates this famous passage as if John Donne were writing free verse several centuries ahead of his time. This is more than misleading. It's flat-out wrong. The passage is from one of his sermons, not his poetry. It isn't a poem at all. (Report) Reply

    (1/15/2018 11:53:00 PM)

    Oh dear, oh dear. Sneering is bad, and reflects badly on the sneerer. It’s made very clear that this passage was written as prose - “lineated”, if you will; the fact that it’s cited as poetry indicates Donne’s awareness of the rhythms of English speech.

  • (1/1/2018 2:18:00 PM)


    The Almighty God stipulated two commandments as great. In fact he stated all the Law and the Prophets hang upon them. John Donne caught the simplest of concepts.. (Report) Reply

  • (11/24/2017 6:39:00 AM)


    Always relative but I hope to be on this mortal coil for at least another 30 years! I want this read out at my funeral and for everyone to cry!
    Patricia Lingley
    (Report) Reply

  • Lea- Beima Dorestin (11/9/2017 10:30:00 PM)


    A very famous poem for all the right reasons👏👏👏 (Report) Reply

  • (10/24/2017 6:06:00 AM)


    The poem never loses its relevance, more so now than ever.If we don`t care about just a clod, the entire world is at risk of being wiped out physically. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (8/29/2017 2:20:00 PM)


    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.
    Loved it.
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/22/2017 10:58:00 AM)


    We Americans worship biological life. How superficial.
    We are so terrified of facing death
    because we worship bio-life as the Hollywood media tell us to
    How superficial.

    We accumulate money and paid-off houses
    as though that is who we are.

    We are terrified of death- who is really a great friend.
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/12/2017 10:07:00 AM)


    I am Involved in man kind......How wonderful the feelings about humanity in these words. Great poem. (Report) Reply

  • (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

    (6/23/2017 9:34:00 AM)

    If there is no afterlife- -then human life is just a dirty trick played on us.
    If there IS an afterlife- -then death is our friend.

    Many people are unable to see this.

  • (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

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# 32 poem on top 500 Poems

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 30, 2013


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