No Man is an Island

No man is an island

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. 

 

This wasn’t written as a poem, but as part of Donne’s “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions”, a reflection on life while he was seriously ill. The words below are from Meditation XVII, and it’s well worth reading the whole of that meditation.

More on Donne’s Devotions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devotions_upon_Emergent_Occasions

The whole of Meditation XVII: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Meditation_XVII

Note: I just realized I posted on this topic in 2013. This is an expanded and somewhat different entry.

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