Thursday, March 27, 2008

...John Donne, 2.0

"Perchance he, for whom this bell tolls,
may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him;
and perchance I may think myself so much better
than I am, as that they who are about me...
may have caused it to toll for me....

all mankind is of one author,
and is one volume;
when one man dies,
one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated...

Therefore, the bell that rings to a sermon,
calls not upon the preacher only,
but upon the congregation to come:
so this bell calls us all;
but how much more me,
who am brought so near the door by this sickness...

The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth;
and though it intermit again,
yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him,
he is united to God.

Who casts not up his eye
to the sun when it rises ?
but who takes off his eye
from a comet when that breaks out ?

Who bends not his ear to any bell,
which upon any occasion rings ?
but who can remove it from that bell
which is passing a piece of himself out of this world ?

No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod of dirt be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less...

any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind...
therefore, never send
to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee..."

[Meditation : Devotions XVII, selected]

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