Meditations by John Donne (task 4, p. 77)

See task 4 on page 77.

Extract from Meditation IV

It is too little to call Man a little World; Except God, Man is a diminutive to nothing. Man consistes of more pieces, more parts, than the world; than the world doeth, nay than the world is. And if those pieces were extended, and stretched out in Man, as they in the world, Man would bee the Gyant, and the Worlde the Dwarfe, the World but the Map, and the Man the World. If all the Veines in our bodies, were extended to Rivers, and all the Sinewes, to Vaines of Mines, and all the Muscles, that lye upon one another, to Hilles, and all the Bones to Quarries of stones, and all the other pieces, to the proportion of those which correspond to them in the world, the Aire would be too litle for this Orbe of Man to move in, the firmament would bee but enough for this Starre; for, as the whole world hath nothing, to which something in man doth not answere, so hath man many pieces, of which the whole world hath no representation.


Extract from Meditation XVII

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.



Pulpit Pulpit Extra tasks: LOOKING AT LANGUAGE

  1. Spelling in the Renaissance had yet to be standardised. The first extract is given in its original form. What “corrections” would you make to turn it into modern English? Which words would you say were archaic?
  2. John Donne’s “meditations” are really sermons, delivered orally from the pulpit. How can you see this in the language itself? What techniques of the public speaker does he use?