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73 Top John Donne Quotes

Famous As: 17th Century English Poet Who is Considered the Preeminent Representative of the Metaphysical Poets
Born On: January 22, 1572
Died On: March 31, 1631
Born In: London, England
Died At Age: 59
John Donne was an English Christian cleric, politician and poet who lived between 1573 and 1631 and is regarded as one of the most influential poets of his time. Donne studied at what is now known as Hertford College at Oxford University and then went on to study at University of Cambridge but he was not awarded degrees for being a Catholic. Some of the recurring themes in his poems and sonnets are related to love, religion and sexuality and was regarded as a pioneering poet, who also revelled in the use of metaphors in his works. As a matter of fact, it is widely accepted that Donne’s usage of metaphors was far ahead of his time and his contemporaries struggled to match his expertise in the said field. In addition to the expert use of metaphors, Donne’s work is also known for depicting English society as accurately as possible and that was one of the big reasons why his poems became so popular among the people. As should be expected from someone of Donne’s stature, he was a highly articulate man and put forward his views through his works and writings. We have collected sayings and quotations by John Donne which have been excerpted from his poems, writings and sonnets. Presenting John Donne's quotes on religion, satire, love, sermons, sonnets, marriage, beauty, dreams, poetry, passion, sex, soul and seduction.
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Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail.

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

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

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face." [The Autumnal]

John Donne
I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so.

I am two fools, I know, For loving, and for saying so.

John Donne
And who understands? Not me, because if I did I would forgive it all.

And who understands? Not me, because if I did I would forgive it all.

John Donne
More than kisses, letters mingle souls.

More than kisses, letters mingle souls.

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

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

John Donne
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

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

John Donne
Licence my roving hands, and let them go 
Before, behind, between, above, below.

Licence my roving hands, and let them go Before, behind, between, above, below.

John Donne
Death is an ascension to a better library.

Death is an ascension to a better library.

John Donne
Love, built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.

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

John Donne
Then love is sin, and let me sinful be.

Then love is sin, and let me sinful be.

John Donne
Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant;
the only harmless great thing.

Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.

John Donne
No man is an island, entire of itself.

No man is an island, entire of itself.

John Donne
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book.

Love's mysteries in souls do grow, But yet the body is his book.

John Donne
And to 'scape stormy days, I choose an everlasting night.

And to 'scape stormy days, I choose an everlasting night.

John Donne
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.

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.

John Donne
Other men's crosses are not my crosses.

Other men's crosses are not my crosses.

John Donne
Reason is our soul's left hand, Faith her right, 
By these we reach divinity

Reason is our soul's left hand, Faith her right, By these we reach divinity

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

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

John Donne
I am a little world made cunningly.

I am a little world made cunningly.

John Donne
Sir, more than kisses,
letters mingle souls;
For, thus friends absent speak.

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

John Donne
Never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

Never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne
True and false fears let us refrain, 
Let us love nobly, and live, and add again 
Years and years unto years, till we attain 
To write threescore: this is the second of our reign.

True and false fears let us refrain, Let us love nobly, and live, and add again Years and years unto years, till we attain To write threescore: this is the second of our reign.

John Donne
I did best when I had least truth for my subjects.

I did best when I had least truth for my subjects.

John Donne
In Heaven, it is always Autumn

In Heaven, it is always Autumn".

John Donne
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

John Donne
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I 
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

John Donne
Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee, 'and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for, you As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend; That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee, 'and bend Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.

John Donne
Death, thou shalt die.

Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne
That thou remember them, some claim as debt; I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.

That thou remember them, some claim as debt; I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.

John Donne
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime, nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime, nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

John Donne
Filled with her love, may I be rather grown
Mad with much heart, then idiot with none.

Filled with her love, may I be rather grown Mad with much heart, then idiot with none.

John Donne
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

John Donne
For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love

For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love

John Donne
He that desires to print a book, should much more desire, to be a book.

He that desires to print a book, should much more desire, to be a book.

John Donne
Let not thy divining heart
Forethink me any ill;
Destiny may take thy part,
And may thy fears fulfill.

Let not thy divining heart Forethink me any ill; Destiny may take thy part, And may thy fears fulfill.

John Donne
This is joy's bonfire, then, where love's strong arts
Make of so noble individual parts
One fire of four inflaming eyes, and of two loving hearts.

This is joy's bonfire, then, where love's strong arts Make of so noble individual parts One fire of four inflaming eyes, and of two loving hearts.

John Donne
I fix mine eye on thine, and there
Pity my picture burning in thine eye...

I fix mine eye on thine, and there Pity my picture burning in thine eye...

John Donne
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.

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.

John Donne
To be no part of any body, is to be nothing.

To be no part of any body, is to be nothing.

John Donne
One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die.

One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne
My world's both parts, and 'o! Both parts must die.

My world's both parts, and 'o! Both parts must die.

John Donne
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
and makes me end where I begun.

Thy firmness makes my circle just, and makes me end where I begun.

John Donne
At one blood labors to beget,
Spirits as like as it can, 
Because such figures need to knit,
that subtle knot which makes us man.

At one blood labors to beget, Spirits as like as it can, Because such figures need to knit, that subtle knot which makes us man.

John Donne
Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so.

Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so.

John Donne
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

John Donne
Poor heretics there be,
Which think to establish dangerous constancy,
But I have told them, ‘Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them, who are false to you.

Poor heretics there be, Which think to establish dangerous constancy, But I have told them, ‘Since you will be true, You shall be true to them, who are false to you.

John Donne
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.

All measure, and all language, I should pass, Should I tell what a miracle she was.

John Donne
Doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is.

Doubt wisely; in strange way To stand inquiring right, is not to stray; To sleep, or run wrong, is.

John Donne
Any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved with mankind.

Any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved with mankind.

John Donne
No man is an island.

No man is an island.

John Donne
But, O alas! so long, so far,
Our bodies why do we forbear?

But, O alas! so long, so far, Our bodies why do we forbear?

John Donne
BUSY old fool, unruly Sun, 
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun, Why dost thou thus, Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?

John Donne
Thy sins and hairs may no man equal call,
for as thy sins increase, thy hairs do fall.

Thy sins and hairs may no man equal call, for as thy sins increase, thy hairs do fall.

John Donne
...but come bad chance
And wee joyne to it our strength
And wee teach it art and length
It selfe o'er us to advance.

...but come bad chance And wee joyne to it our strength And wee teach it art and length It selfe o'er us to advance.

John Donne
Stay, O sweet, and do not rise;
The light that shines comes from thine eyes;
The day breaks not, it is my heart,
Because that you and I must part.

Stay, O sweet, and do not rise; The light that shines comes from thine eyes; The day breaks not, it is my heart, Because that you and I must part.

John Donne
Hee that hath all can have no more

Hee that hath all can have no more

John Donne
I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

I think it mercy if Thou wilt forget.

John Donne
If that be simply perfectest
Which can by no way be expresst
But negatives, my love is so.
To All, which all love, I say no.

Negative Love

If that be simply perfectest Which can by no way be expresst But negatives, my love is so. To All, which all love, I say no. Negative Love

John Donne
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce, For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

John Donne
All other things to their destruction draw, 
Only our love hath no decay...

All other things to their destruction draw, Only our love hath no decay...

John Donne
I long to talk with some old lover’s ghost
Who died before the god of Love was born.

I long to talk with some old lover’s ghost Who died before the god of Love was born.

John Donne
Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his first minute, after noon, is night.

Love is a growing, or full constant light, And his first minute, after noon, is night.

John Donne
I wonder, by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd.

I wonder, by my troth, what thou, and I Did, till we lov'd.

John Donne
O! I shall soon despair, when I shall see
That Thou lovest mankind well, yet wilt not choose me,
And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.

O! I shall soon despair, when I shall see That Thou lovest mankind well, yet wilt not choose me, And Satan hates me, yet is loth to lose me.

John Donne
Changed loves are but changed sorts of meat,
And when he hath the kernel eat,
Who doth not fling away the shell?

Changed loves are but changed sorts of meat, And when he hath the kernel eat, Who doth not fling away the shell?

John Donne
As virtuous men pass mildly away
And whisper to their souls, to goe,
While some of their friends doe say,
The breath goes now, and some say, no:

So let us melt, and make no noise...

As virtuous men pass mildly away And whisper to their souls, to goe, While some of their friends doe say, The breath goes now, and some say, no: So let us melt, and make no noise...

John Donne
I joy, that in these straits I see my west;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;

John Donne
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we.

Thou, sun, art half as happy as we.

John Donne
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;

It sucked me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;

John Donne
Wicked is not much worse than indiscreet.

Wicked is not much worse than indiscreet.

John Donne
Methinks I lied all winter, when I swore
My love was infinite, if spring makes it more.

Methinks I lied all winter, when I swore My love was infinite, if spring makes it more.

John Donne
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire, But to supplant, and with gainful intent; God clothed Himself in vile man’s flesh, that so He might be weak enough to suffer woe.

And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire, But to supplant, and with gainful intent; God clothed Himself in vile man’s flesh, that so He might be weak enough to suffer woe.

John Donne