john donne Quotes

Dear love, for nothing less than theeWould I have broke this happy dream;It was a themeFor reason, much too strong for fantasy,Therefore thou wak'd'st me wisely; yetMy dream thou brok'st not, but continued'st it.Thou art so true that thoughts of thee sufficeTo make dreams truths, and fables histories;Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.

- John Donne

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, John Donne - The Major Works: Including Songs and Sonnets and Sermons

I am two fools, I know, for loving, and for saying so in whining poetry.

- John Donne

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.

- John Donne

Mark but this flea, and mark in this, How little that which thou deniest me is; Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea our two bloods mingled be; Thou know’st that this cannot be said A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead, Yet this enjoys before it woo, And pampered swells with one blood made of two, And this, alas, is more than we would do. Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where we almost, nay more than married are. This flea is you and I, and this Our mariage bed and mariage temple is; Though parents grudge, and you, we are met, And cloisterd in these living walls of jet. Though use make you apt to kill me, Let not to that, self-murder added be, And sacrilege, three sins in killing three. Cruel and sudden, hast thou since Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence? Wherein could this flea guilty be, Except in that drop which it sucked from thee? Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now; ’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be: Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me, Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

- John Donne

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... As 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... No man is an island, entire of itself... 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, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and Death's Duel: With the Life of Dr. John Donne by Izaak Walton

As virtuous men pass mildly away, and whisper to their souls to go, whilst some of their sad friends do say, the breath goes now, and some say no.

- John Donne

Man would not be man if his dreams did not exceed his grasp. ... Like John Donne, man lies in a close prison, yet it is dear to him. Like Donne's, his thoughts at times overleap the sun and pace beyond the body. If I term humanity a slime mold organism it is because our present environment suggest it. If I remember the sunflower forest it is because from its hidden reaches man arose. The green world is his sacred center. In moments of sanity he must still seek refuge there. ... If I dream by contrast of the eventual drift of the star voyagers through the dilated time of the universe, it is because I have seen thistledown off to new worlds and am at heart a voyager who, in this modern time, still yearns for the lost country of his birth.

- Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid

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

- John Donne, The Poems of John Donne; Miscellaneous Poems (Songs and Sonnets) Elegies. Epithalamions, or Marriage Songs. Satires. Epigrams. the Progress of

Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.

- John Donne

You focus on telling stories,
we do everything else.