Donne, John

[ (dun) ]

A seventeenth-century English poet and clergyman. Donne is famous for his intricate metaphors, as in a poem in which he compares two lovers to the two legs of a drawing compass. He also wrote learned and eloquent sermons and meditations. The expressions “Death, be not proud,” “No man is an island,” and “for whom the bell tolls” are drawn from Donne's works.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.