John Donne

Literary Birthday – 22 January – John Donne

John Donne was born 22 January 1572 and died 31 March 1631.


  1. No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.
  2. Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes.
  3. Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
  4. More than kisses, letters mingle souls.
  5. All mankind is one volume. When one man dies, a chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. And every chapter must be translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice. But God’s hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall live open to one another.
  6. Come live with me, and be my love, And we will some new pleasures prove Of golden sands, and crystal brooks, With silken lines, and silver hooks.

John Donne was an English poet of the Metaphysical school. He was also a cleric in the Church of England. His works include sonnets, sermons, love poems, religious poems, epigrams, songs, elegies, and satires. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially compared to that of his contemporaries.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, his ‘poems develop as closely reasoned arguments or propositions that rely heavily on the use of the conceit—i.e., an extended metaphor that draws an ingenious parallel between apparently dissimilar situations or objects. Donne, however, transformed the conceit into a vehicle for transmitting multiple, sometimes even contradictory, feelings and ideas. And, changing again the practice of earlier poets, he drew his imagery from such diverse fields as alchemy, astronomy, medicine, politics, global exploration, and philosophical disputation. Donne’s famous analogy of parting lovers to a drawing compass affords a prime example.’
Donne is often considered the greatest love poet in the English language. The first two editions of Donne’s Poems were published posthumously, in 1633 and 1635.

Source for screenshot National Portrait Gallery, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons /Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 21st January 2020