Famous Quotes by John Donne
“We understood Her by her sight; her pure and eloquent blood Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought That one might almost say her body thought. – Dr. John Donne,” —Dr John Donne on Appearance
“My forces are not enfeebled, I find no decay in my strength; my provisions are not cut off, I find no abhorring in mine appetite; my counsels are not corrupted nor infatuated, I find no false apprehensions to work upon mine understanding; and yet they see that invisibly, and I feel that insensibly, the disease prevails.” —Dr John Donne on Appetite
“No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one autumnal face; Young beauties force our love, and that’s a rape; This doth but counsel, yet you cannot scape.” —Dr John Donne on Autumn
“Love’s mysteries in souls do grow, But yet the body is his book.” —John Donne on Body
“Now men say, “I am in no wise prepared for this work, and therefore it cannot be wrought in me,” and thus they have an excuse, so that they neither are ready nor in the way to be so. And truly there is no one to blame for this but themselves. For if a man were looking and striving after nothing but to find a preparation in all things, and diligently gave his whole mind to see how he might become prepared; verily God would well prepare him, for God giveth as much care and earnestness and love to the preparing of a man, as to the pouring in of His Spirit when the man is prepared. … Theologia Germanica April 14, 1996 This was the fullness of time, when Christ Jesus did come, that the Messiah should come. It was so to the Jews, and it was so to the Gentiles too… Christ hath excommunicated no nation, no shire, no house, no man; He gives none of His ministers leave to say to any man, thou art not redeemed; He gives no wounded or afflicted conscience leave to say to itself, I am not redeemed.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012 Love is strong as death; but nothing else is as strong as either; and both, love and death, met in Christ. How strong and powerful upon you, then, should that instruction be, that comes to you from both these, the love and death of Jesus Christ!” —John Donne on Christianity
“Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788 He was but a heathen that said, If God love a man, He takes him young out of this world; and they were but heathens, that observed that custom. to put on mourning when their sons were born, and to feast and triumph when they died. But thus much may we learn from these heathens, that if the dead, and we, be not upon one floor, nor under one story, yet we are under one roof. We think not a friend lost, because he has gone into another room, nor because he has gone into another land: and into another world, no man has gone; for that Heaven, which God created, and this world, is all one world… I spend none of my faith, I exercise none of my hope, in this, that I shall have my dead raised to life again. This is the faith that sustains me, when I lose by the death of others, or when I suffer by living in misery myself: that the dead and we are now all in one Church, and at the resurrection, shall be all in one Choir.” —John Donne on Christianity
“To me, to whom God hath revealed his Son, in a Gospel, by a Church, there can be no way of salvation, but by applying that Son of God, by that Gospel, in that Church. Nor is there any other foundation for any, nor other name by which any can be saved, but the name of Jesus. But how this foundation is presented, and how this name of Jesus is notified unto them, amongst whom there is no Gospel preached, no Church established, I am not curious in inquiring. I know that God can be as merciful as those tender Fathers present him to be; and I would be as charitable as they are. And therefore, humbly embracing that manifestation of his Son, which he hath afforded me, I leave God, to his unsearchable waies of working upon others, without further inquisition.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence; sayes the Apostle, it is a fearefull thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Yet there was a case, in which David found an ease, to fall into the hands of God, to scape the hands of men: When God’s hand is bent to strike, it is a fearefull thing, to fall into the hands of the living God; but to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389 Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833 I have seen minute-glasses: glasses so short liv’d! If I were to preach upon this text (“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt. 6:21), to such a glass, it would be enough for half the sermon, enough to show the worldly man his treasure, and the object of his Heart, to call his eye to that minute-glass, and to tell him, “There flows, there flies, your treasure, and your heart with it.” But if I had a secular glass, a glass that would run an age; if the two hemispheres of the world were composed in the form of such a glass, and all the world burnt to ashes, and all the ashes, and the sands, and atoms of the world put into that glass, it would not be enough to tell the godly man what his treasure, and the object of his heart is. A parrot will sooner be brought to relate to us the wisdom of a council table, than any Ambrose, or any Chrysostom, men that have gold and honey in their names, shall tell us what the treasure of heaven is, and that man’s peace, that hath set his Heart upon that treasure.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure, then from thee much more, must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy, or charms, can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Concluding a short series on authenticity: Think thyself at that Tribunal, that judgment, now: Where thou shalt not only hear all thy sinful works, and words, and thoughts repeated, which thou thy self hadst utterly forgot, but thou shalt hear thy good works, thine alms, thy coming to Church, thy hearing of Sermons, given in evidence against thee, because they had hypocrisy mingled in them; yea, thou shalt find even thy repentance to condemn thee, because thou madest that but a door to a relapse.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification; and as without this, without holiness, no man shall see God, though he pore whole nights upon his Bible; so without that, without humility, no man shall hear God speak to his soul, though he hear three two-hour sermons every day.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God and His Angels thither; and when they are there, I neglect God and His Angels for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Never propose to thy self such a God, as thou wert not bound to imitate: Thou mistakest God, if thou make him to be any such thing, or make him to do any such thing, as thou in thy proportion shouldst not be, or shouldst not do. And shouldst thou curse any man that had never offended, never transgrest, never trespass thee? Can God have done so? Will God curse man, before man have sinned?” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 He was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and brake it; And what that Word did make it I do believe, and take it.” —John Donne on Christianity
“It is not in the power of the devil to do so much harm, as God can do good; nay, we may be bold to say, it is not in the will, not in the desire of the devil to do so much harm, as God would do good.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155 We may search so far, and reason so long of faith and grace, as that we may lose not only them, but even our reason too, and sooner become mad than good. Not that we are bound to believe any thing against reason, that is, to believe, we know not why. It is but a slack opinion, it is not Belief, that is not grounded upon Reason. It is true, we have not a Demonstration; not such an Evidence as that one and two are three, to prove these to be Scriptures of God; God hath not proceeded in that manner, to drive our reason into a pound, and to force it by a peremptory necessity to accept these for Scriptures, for then, here had been no exercise of our Will, and our assent, if we could not have resisted.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 Though natural men, who have induced secondary and figurative consideration, have found out this… emblematical use of sleep, that it should be a representation of death, God, who wrought and perfected his work, before Nature began, (for Nature was but his Apprentice, to learn in the first seven days, and now is his foreman, and works next under him) God, I say, intended sleep only for the refreshing of man by bodily rest, and not for a figure of death, for he intended not death itself then. But Man having induced death upon himself, God hath taken Man’s Creature, death, into his hand, and mended it, and whereas it hath in itself a fearfull form and aspect, so that Man is afraid of his own Creature, God presents it to him, in a familiar, in an assiduous, in an agreeable and acceptable form, in sleep, that so when he awakes from sleep and says to himself, shall I be no otherwise when I am dead, than I was even now, when I was asleep, he may be ashamed of his waking dreams, and of his Melancholique fancying out a horrid and an affrightful figure of that death which is so like sleep. As then we need sleep to live out our threescore and ten years, so we need death, to live that life which we cannot out-live.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Feast of Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179 That earth and that heaven, which spent God himself, Almighty God, six days in finishing, Moses sets up in a few syllables, in one line: In the beginning God created heaven and earth. If a Livie or a Guicciardine, or such extensive and voluminous authors had had this story in hand, God must have made another world, to have made them a library to hold their books, of the making of this world. Into what wire would they have drawn out this earth! Into what leaf-gold would they have beat out these heavens! It may assist our conjecture herein, to consider, that amongst those men, who proceed with a sober modesty and limitation in their writing, & make a conscience not to clog the world with unnecessary books, yet the volumes which are written by them, upon the beginning of Genesis, are scarce less than infinite. God did no more but say, Let this & this be done; and Moses doth no more but say, that upon God’s saying it was done. God required not Nature to help him to do it; Moses required not Reason to help him believe.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258 Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Christ came… in a purpose, … to manifest himself in the Christian Religion, to all the nations of the world; and therefore, says David, The Lord reigneth, let the Islands rejoice — the Islands who by reason of their situation, provision, and trading have most means of conveying Christ Jesus over the world. He hath carried us up to heaven & set us at the right hand of God, & shall not we endeavour to carry him to those nations, who have not yet heard of his name? Shall we still brag that we have brought our clothes, and our hatchets, and our knives, and bread to this and this value and estimation amongst those poor ignorant Souls, and shall we never glory that we have brought the name, and Religion of Christ Jesus in estimation amongst them? Shall we stay till other nations have planted a false Christ among them? And then either continue in our sloth, or take more pains in rooting out a false Christ than would have planted the true?” —John Donne on Christianity
“He that asks me what heaven is, means not to hear me, but to silence me; He knows I cannot tell him. When I meet him there, I shall be able to tell him, and then he will be as able to tell me; yet then we shall be but able to tell one another. This, this that we enjoy is heaven, but the tongues of Angels, the tongues of glorified Saints, shall not be able to express what that heaven is; for, even in heaven our faculties shall be finite.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Easter Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 God, who is Almighty, Alpha and Omega, First and Last, that God is also Love it self; and therefore this Love is Alpha and Omega, First and Last too. Consider Christ’s proceeding with Peter in the ship, in the storm: First he suffered him to be in some danger in the storm, but then he visits him with that strong assurance, “Be not afraid, It is I”: any testimony of his presence rectifies all. This puts Peter into that spiritual confidence and courage, “Lord bid me come to thee”; he hath a desire to be with Christ, but yet stays his bidding: he puts not himself into an unnecessary danger, without commandment: Christ bids him, and Peter comes: but yet, though Christ were in his sight, and even in the actual exercise of his love to him, so soon as he saw a gust, a storm, “He was afraid”; and Christ lets him fear, and lets him sink, and lets him cry, but he directs his fear and his cry to the right end: “Lord, save me”; and thereupon he stretched forth his hand and saved him… God puts his children into good ways, and he directs and protects them in those ways; for this is the constancy and perseverence of the love of Jesus Christ to us, as he is called in this text (Matt. 21:44), a stone.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922 A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knees, a noise in my ear, a light in my eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayers.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Men perish with whispering sins–nay, with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience that they are sins, as often with crying sins; and in hell there shall meet as many men that never thought what was sin, as that spent all their thoughts in the compassing of sin.” —John Donne on Christianity
“This was the fullness of time, when Christ Jesus did come, that the Messiah should come. It was so to the Jews, and it was so to the Gentiles too… Christ hath excommunicated no nation, no shire, no house, no man; He gives none of His ministers leave to say to any man, thou art not redeemed; He gives no wounded or afflicted conscience leave to say to itself, I am not redeemed.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915 Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631 You rob, and spoile, and eat his people as bread, by Extortion, and bribery, and deceitful waights and measures, and deluding oathes in buying and selling, and then come hither, and so make God your Receiver, and his house a den of Thieves. His house is Sanctum Sanctorum, The holiest of holies, and you make it onely Sanctuarium: It should be a place sanctified by your devotions, and you make it onely a Sanctuary to priviledge Maelfactors, a place that may redeeme you from the ill opinion of men, who must in charity be bound to thinke well of you, because they see you in here.” —John Donne on Christianity
“As I do no good action here, merely for the interpretation of good men, though that be one good and justifiable reason of my good actions: so I must do nothing for my salvation hereafter, merely for the love I bear to mine own soul, though that also be one good and justifiable reason of that action; but the primary reason in both, as well as the actions that establish a good name, as the actions that establish eternal life, must be the glory of God.” —John Donne on Christianity
“Keep us, Lord, so awake in the duties of our callings that we may sleep in Thy peace and wake in Thy glory.” —John Donne on Christianity
“He was the word that spake it, He took the bread and brake it; And what that word did make it, I do believe and take it.” —Dr John Donne on Doctrine
“If we consider eternity, into that time never entered; eternity is not an everlasting flux of time, but time is as a short parenthesis in a long period; and eternity had been the same as it is, though time had never been.” —Dr John Donne on Eternity
“I have just got a new theory of eternity.” —Dr John Donne on Eternity
“Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right.” —John Donne on Faith
“When I died last, and, Dear, I die as often as from thee I go though it be but an hour ago and lovers hours be full eternity.” —John Donne on Farewells
“To be no part of any body, is to be nothing.” —John Donne on Heartbreak
“Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak.” —John Donne on Letters
“Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.” —John Donne on Love
“I am two fools, I know, for loving and saying so.” —John Donne on Love
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is part of the main … 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.” —John Donne on Man
“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 friends 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. More mankind quotes coming soon. If you have a quote or proverb about mankind, please use the “Submit a Quote” form below to have your mankind quote reviewed by an editor. Suggestions or comments on this site? Send an email -John Donne.” —John Donne on Mankind
“To be no part of any body, is to be nothing.” —John Donne on Rejection
Wikiquote Article on John Donne
John Donne (1572 – 31 March 1631) was a Jacobean metaphysical poet. His works include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, and sermons.
1.2 Holy Sonnets
2 Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
2.1 LXXX Sermons (1640)
4 External links
I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers’ den?
The Good Morrow, stanza 1
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
The Good Morrow, stanza 2
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest,
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp North, without declining West?
What ever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
The Good Morrow, stanza 3
Though Truth and Falsehood be
Near twins, yet Truth a little elder is.
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star), stanza 1
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star), stanzas 2-3
I have done one braver thing
Than all the Worthies did;
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is to keep that hid.
The Undertaking, stanza 1
But he who loveliness within
Hath found, all outward loathes,
For he who color loves, and skin,
Loves but their oldest clothes.
The Undertaking, stanza 4
And dare love that, and say so too,
And forget the He and She.
The Undertaking, stanza 5
Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
The Sun Rising, stanza 1
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
The Sun Rising, stanza 1
She is all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
The Sun Rising, stanza 3
For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love.
The Canonization, stanza 1
The Phoenix riddle hath more wit
By us, we two being one, are it.
So to one neutral thing both sexes fit,
We die and rise the same, and prove
Mysterious by this love.
The Canonization, stanza 3
As well a well-wrought urn becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs.
The Canonization, stanza 4
I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry.
The Triple Fool, stanza 1
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.
The Triple Fool, stanza 2
Sweetest love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
A fitter love for me;
But since that I
Must die at last, ’tis best,
To use my self in jest
Thus by feigned deaths to die.
Song (Sweetest Love, I Do Not Go), stanza 1
Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here today.
Song (Sweetest Love, I Do Not Go), stanza 2
But think that we
Are but turned aside to sleep.
Song (Sweetest Love, I Do Not Go), stanza 5
When I died last, and dear, I die
As often as from thee I go.
The Legacy, stanza 1
Oh do not die, for I shall hate
All women so, when thou art gone.
A Fever, stanza 1
Twice and thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name.
Air and Angels, stanza 1
‘Tis true, ’tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because ’tis light?
Did we lie down, because ’twas night?
Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither
Should in despite of light keep us together.
Break of Day, stanza 1
All Kings, and all their favorites,
All glory of honors, beauties, wits
The sun itself, which makes times, as they pass,
Is elder by a year, now, than it was
When thou and I first one another saw:
All other things, to their destruction draw,
Only our love hath no decay;
This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,
Running, it never runs from us away,
But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.
The Anniversary, stanza 1
Send home my long strayed eyes to me,
Which (Oh) too long have dwelt on thee.
The Message, stanza 1
The world’s whole sap is sunk:
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interred; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.
A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, stanza 1
For I am every dead thing,
In whom love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness
He ruined me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death; things which are not.
A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, stanza 2
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.
The Bait, stanza 1
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, stanza 4
Our two souls therefore which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, stanza 6
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two,
Thy soul the fixt foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do.
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, stanza 7
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes, upon one double string;
So to entergraft our hands, as yet
Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.
The Extasy, line 7
That subtle knot which makes us man:
So must pure lovers’ souls descend
T’ affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
Else a great Prince in prison lies.
The Extasy, line 64
Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book.
The Extasy, line 71
I long to talk with some old lover’s ghost,
Who died before the god of love was born.
Love’s Deity, stanza 1
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
All is the purlieu of the god of love.
Love’s Deity, stanza 3
Who ever comes to shroud me, do not harm
Nor question much
That subtle wreth of hair, which crowns my arm;
The mystery, the sign you must not touch,
For ’tis my outward soul,
Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,
Will leave this to control,
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.
The Funeral, stanza 1
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone.
The Relic, stanza 1
Take heed of loving me.
The Prohibition, stanza 1
So, so, break off this last lamenting kiss,
Which sucks two souls, and vapors both away.
The Expiration, stanza 1
Ah cannot we
As well as cocks and lions jocund be,
After such pleasures?
Farewell to Love, stanza 3
Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls;
For, thus friends absent speak.
Verse Letter to Sir Henry Woton, written before April 1598, line 1
And new philosophy calls all in doubt,
The element of fire is quite put out;
The sun is lost, and the earth, and no man’s wit,
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world’s spent,
When in the planets, and the firmament
They seek so many new; then see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone;
All just supply, and all relation:
Prince, subject, Father, Son, are things forgot.
An Anatomy of the World, The First Anniversary
Her by her sight; her pure, and eloquent blood
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought,
That one might almost say, her body thought.
Of the Progress of the Soul, The Second Anniversary
Since I am coming to that holy room,
Where, with thy choir of saints forevermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before.
Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness, stanza 1
Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and their map, who lie
Flat on this bed.
Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness, stanza 2
When my mouth shall be filled with dust, and the worm shall feed, and feed sweetly upon me, when the ambitious man shall have no satisfaction if the poorest alive tread upon him, nor the poorest receive any contentment in being made equal to princes, for they shall be equal but in dust.
XXVI Sermons, No. 26, Death’s Duel, last sermon, February 15, 1631
Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst for alteration
Poem Present in Absence 
Attribution likely but not proven 
Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.
No. 2, The Anagram, line 27
Nature’s lay idiot, I taught thee to love.
No. 7, Natures Lay Idiot, line 1
She, and comparisons are odious.
No. 8, The Comparison, line 54. Compare: “Comparisons are odious”, John Fortescue, De Laudibus Leg. Angli?, Chap. xix; “Comparisons are odorous”, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, act iii, scene v.
No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
No. 9, The Autumnal, line 1
The heavens rejoice in motion, why should I
Abjure my so much loved variety.
No. 17, Variety, line 1
Who ever loves, if he do not propose
The right true end of love, he’s one that goes
To sea for nothing but to make him sick.
No. 18, Love’s Progress, line 1
The Sestos and Abydos of her breasts
Not of two lovers, but two loves the nests.
No. 18, Love’s Progress, line 61
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
No. 19, To His Mistress Going to Bed, line 24
O my America! my new-found land.
No. 19, To His Mistress Going to Bed, line 27
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be,
To taste whole joys.
No. 19, To His Mistress Going to Bed, line 33
Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O, my America, my Newfoundland
My kingdom, safest when with one man mann’d,
My mine of precious stones, my empery;
How am I blest in thus discovering thee !
To enter in these bonds, is to be free ;
Then, where my hand is set, my soul shall be.”
No. 19, To His Mistress Going to Bed
I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements, and an angelic sprite.
No. 5, line 1
At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattred bodies go.
No. 7, line 1
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain.
No. 7, line 6
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be damned; alas; why should I be?
No. 9, line 1
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
No. 10, line 1
Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke.
No. 10, line 9
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
No. 10, line 13
What if this present were the world’s last night?
No. 13, line 1
Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend.
No. 14, line 1
Show me, dear Christ, Thy spouse, so bright and clear.
No. 18, line 1
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
I observe the physician with the same diligence as he the disease.
A man that is not afraid of a Lion is afraid of a Cat.
Age is a sicknesse, and Youth is an ambush.
Let not one bring Learning, another Diligence, another Religion, but every one bring all.
I do nothing upon myself, and yet am mine own executioner.
The flea, though he kill none, he does all the harm he can.
Hee drinkes misery, and he tastes happinesse; he mowes misery, and he gleanes happinesse; he journeys in misery, he does but walke in happinesse.
How deepe do we dig, and for how coarse gold?
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 own 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.
Modern version: 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 friends 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.
Meditation 17; Probably the most famous of Donne’s “Meditations” this statement provided the title to a famous novel by Ernest Hemingway.
LXXX Sermons (1640)
What gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worm is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God?
No. 76, preached to the Earl of Carlisle, c. autumn 1622
Now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries, all occasions invite his mercies, and all times are his seasons.
No. 3, preached on Christmas Day, 1625
I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.
No. 80, preached at the funeral of Sir William Cokayne, December 12, 1626
And what is so intricate, so entangling as death? Who ever got out of a winding sheet?
No. 54, preached to the King at Whitehall, April 5, 1628
Poor intricated soul! Riddling, perplexed, labyrinthical soul!
No. 48, preached upon the Day of St. Paul’s Conversion, January 25, 1629
He was the Word, that spake it:
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.
Divine Poems, “On the Sacrament”. Attributed by many writers to Elizabeth I. It is not in the original edition of Donne, but first appears in the edition of 1654, p. 352.