Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

John Donne

English Metaphysical Poet, Divine

"The distance from nothing to a little, is ten thousand times more, than from it to the highest degree in this life."

"Love’s mysteries in soule’s doe grow."

"Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes."

"Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail."

"Death be not proud, though some have called Thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so... One short sleep past, we wake eternally and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."

"Eternity is not an everlasting flux of Tyme; but Tyme is a short parenthesis in a longe period."

"Friends are ourselves."

"God is so omnipresent... That God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw."

"Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies."

"I observe the physician with the same diligence as the disease."

"Of all commentaries upon the Scriptures, good examples are the best and the liveliest."

"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 thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved with mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak."

"Poetry is a counterfeit creation and makes things that are not, as though they were."

"The difference between reason of man and the instinct of the beast is this, that the beast does but know, but the man knows that he knows."

"God’s suffering for man was the Nadir, the lowerst point in God’s humiliation; man’s suffering for God is the Zenith, the highest point of man’s exaltation."

"As peace is of all goodness, so war is an emblem, a hieroglyphic, of all misery."

"I shall not live `till I see God; and when I have seen Him, I shall never die."

"Our critical day is not the very day of our death; but the whole course of our life."

"Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough ot it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction."

"This only is charity, to do all, all that we can."

"To come to God there is a straight line for every man everywhere."

"Reason is our soul’s left hand, faith her right; by these we reach divinity."

"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. "

"When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. "

"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. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and His hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to another."

"No man is an island."

"One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."

"Death is an ascension to a better library."

"Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification. "

"o know and feel all this and not have the words to express it makes a human a grave of his own thoughts."

"I am a little world made cunningly."

"That soul that can reflect upon itself, consider itself, is more than so."