John Donne

(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

No Man Is An Island - Poem by John Donne

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.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem - the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

'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 owne 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....'

Comments about No Man Is An Island by John Donne

  • Walter Crawford Walter Crawford (12/27/2015 8:34:00 PM)

    A very true statement. (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Dalana Dailey (12/23/2015 9:43:00 PM)

    Gorgeous. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/30/2015 10:59:00 AM)

    No man is an island
    Nor will he ever be
    Molded by the same hand
    That belongs to divinity......... (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/30/2015 10:57:00 AM)

    No man is an island
    Nor will he ever be
    Molded by the same hand
    That belongs to divinity........... (Report) Reply

  • Oladoyin Micheal Oladoyin Micheal (10/26/2015 6:33:00 PM)

    Indeed! no man is an Island be it of knowledge or material needs. Even the animals walk, hunt and play in pairs. (Report) Reply

  • Oladoyin Micheal Oladoyin Micheal (10/26/2015 6:33:00 PM)

    Indeed! no man is an Island be it of knowledge or material needs. Even the animals walk, hunt and play in pairs. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) (7/1/2015 8:44:00 PM)

    If everybody could listen to or read this poem that thunders in our ears, the world could be peaceful. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) (7/1/2015 8:42:00 PM)

    Yeah.No man self sufficient (Report) Reply

  • Sam Hamilton-jones (5/29/2015 3:44:00 PM)

    We cannot escape communicating even without words. By saying nothing we say so much. (Report) Reply

  • Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/8/2014 1:29:00 AM)

    This poem has inspired one composer at home to write a song, No Man Is an Island, a great inspiration to human understanding of our common need for each other and our common destination after life. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Carver (10/13/2014 6:17:00 AM)

    Therefore, it is NOT a poem, as such! (Report) Reply

    Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/8/2014 1:32:00 AM)

    This poem has inspired one composer at home to write a song, No Man Is an Island, a great inspiration to human understanding of our common need for each other and our common destination after life.

    Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/8/2014 1:32:00 AM)

    This poem has inspired one composer at home to write a song, No Man Is an Island, a great inspiration to human understanding of our common need for each other and our common destination after life.

    Elizabeth Padillo Olesen Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/8/2014 1:32:00 AM)

    This poem has inspired one composer at home to write a song, No Man Is an Island, a great inspiration to human understanding of our common need for each other and our common destination after life.

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (9/5/2014 4:15:00 PM)

    one of my favorite poems...everything is connected in some way or another. (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/21/2014 3:08:00 AM)

    Nice poem and solitude is a perfect subject to listen. (Report) Reply

  • Herbert Guitang Herbert Guitang (4/25/2014 8:13:00 AM)

    this poem opens many people in too much in solitude. A perfect piece. One of the greatest poem (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai Ramesh Rai (2/21/2014 9:01:00 PM)

    Written in simple style with a deep inner meaning. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai Ramesh Rai (2/21/2014 8:59:00 PM)

    Written in simple style with a deep inner meaning. (Report) Reply

  • Vishal Sharma Vishal Sharma (2/21/2014 2:11:00 PM)

    John donne piece always takes me to a new world of meaning of life...! ! !

    Superb write...! ! (Report) Reply

  • Stephen W (2/21/2014 11:18:00 AM)

    Well done indeed to Randall Stevenson! All too often we don't have the cultural context we need to fully understand an archaic poem. (Report) Reply

  • John Torgerson (11/20/2013 9:51:00 AM)

    Thank you Randall Stevenson (10/22/2013) for the background on this poem and on John Donne. I believe this poem challenges a current cultural mantra, What I do in private affects no one. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/18/2013 4:27:00 AM)

    No man is an island or a continent small
    He or she is nothing less than a planet or star
    Unique in the gifts bestowed by the good Lord
    And only recognized when they are long gone......

    I welcome all ye poets reading this to my page too..... (Report) Reply

Read all 50 comments »




What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: sea, death, friend



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 30, 2013


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