If no man is an island, aye! John Donne,
Emperor and beggar, lout and sage;
Yet even so, you’d grant we live upon one,
Most solitary shipwrecks in old age.
A piece of each lone vessel sunk from reach,
Proud armadas part, horizons shrink,
Their battered crews washed up upon a beach
As castaways: you knew all this, I think.
‘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.’ — John Donne, ‘Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions’ (1624)