Top 50+ John Donne Quotes From The Metaphysical Poet

Moumita Dutta
Dec 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Feb 17, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Poet writing on paper

John Donne was a 16th century English poet.

John Donne was a master in writing metaphysical poems and became a pioneer for the same. Donne was also a reverend to a church in England.

A few of Donne's iconic poems include, 'The Good Morrow', 'The Canonization'. John Donne's quotations, poems, and other works are relevant today as well. To enjoy some of the greatest quotes of this metaphorical poet do check this article till the end.

If you find our content interesting, check out Lord Byron quotes and John Milton quotes.

Best Quotes By John Donne

Here are some of the best quotes of John Donne. You will also find metaphysical quotes and John Donne quotes on unity.

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

- John Donne, 'For Whom The Bell Tolls'.

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

- John Donne, 'Elegy II'.

3. "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.

For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow."

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Death, Be Not Proud'.

4. "And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more."

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Death, Be Not Proud'.

5. "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, 'The Bait'.

6. "I am two fools, I know,

For loving, and for saying so."

- John Donne, 'The Triple Fool'.

7. "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, 'No Man Is An Island, Meditation XVII - Devotion Upon Emergent Ocassion'.

8. "No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace

As I have seen in one autumnal face.

Young beauties force our love, and that's a rape,

This doth but counsel, yet you cannot scape."

- John Donne, 'Elegy XI : The Autumnal'.

9. "Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,"

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Death, Be Not Proud'.

10. "Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,

Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time."

- John Donne, 'The Sunrising'.

11. "And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die."

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Death, Be Not Proud'.

12. "No man is an island, entire of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

- John Donne, 'No Man Is An Island, Meditation XVII - Devotion Upon Emergent Ocassion'.

John Donne Love Quotes

Enlisted below are some of the John Donne love poems quotes and a classical poem about love.

13."My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;

Where can we find two better hemispheres,

Without sharp north, without declining west?"

- John Donne, 'The Good Morrow'.

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

Or chide my palsy, or my gout,

My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout,

With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve"

- John Donne, 'The Cannonization'.

15. "But we will have a way more liberal,

Than changing hearts, to join them; so we shall

Be one, and one another's all."

- John Donne, 'Lovers' Infiniteness'.

16. "If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die."

- John Donne, 'The Good Morrow'.

17. "All other things to their destruction draw,

Only our love hath no decay;"

- John Donne, 'The Anniversary'.

Quotes On Far Fetched Imagery

Here are the best quotes on far fetched imagery of John Donne.

18. "She's all states, and all princes, I,

Nothing else is.

Princes do but play us; compared to this,

All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy."

- John Donne, 'The Sun Rising'.

19. "Hither with crystal phials, lovers, come,

And take my tears, which are love's wine,"

- John Donne, 'Twickenham Garden'.

20. "If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two;

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

To move, but doth, if the other do."

- John Donne, 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning'.

21. "Go and catch a falling star,

Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past years are,

Or who cleft the devil's foot,

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Or to keep off envy's stinging,

And find

What wind

Serves to advance an honest mind."

- John Donne, 'Song: Go And Catch A Falling Star'.

22. "Image of her whom I love, more than she,

Whose fair impression in my faithful heart

Makes me her medal, and makes her love me,

As Kings do coins, to which their stamps impart

The value: go, and take my heart from hence,"

- John Donne, 'The Dream : Elegy X'.

Quotes On Pre - Occupation With Morality

Here are the best quotes on pre-occupation with morality of John Donne.

23. "Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurp'd town to another due,

Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;"

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Batter My Heart, Three-person'd God'.

24. "Since she whom I lov'd hath paid her last debt

To nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,

And her soul early into heaven ravished,

Wholly in heavenly things my mind is set.

Here the admiring her my mind did whet

To seek thee, God;"

- John Donne, 'Holy Sonnets: Since She Whom I Lov'd Hath Paid Her Last Debt'.

25. "Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;

Thou cam'st to kindle, goest to come; then I

Will dream that hope again, but else would die."

- John Donne, 'The Dream'.

26. "But yet thou canst not die, I know ;

To leave this world behind, is death;"

- John Donne, 'A Fever'.

Quotes On Intellectual Appeal

Enlisted below are the best quotes on intellectual appeal by John Donne.

27. "The phœnix riddle hath more wit

By us; we two being one, are it.

So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit.

We die and rise the same, and prove

Mysterious by this love."

- John Donne, 'The Cannonization'.

28. "This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;  

Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,  

And cloistered in these living walls of jet."

- John Donne, 'The Flea'.

29. "The spider Love, which transubstantiates all,

And can convert manna to gall ;

And that this place may thoroughly be thought

True paradise, I have the serpent brought."

- John Donne, 'Twickenham Garden'.

30. "Dull sublunary lovers' love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it."

- John Donne, 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning'.

31. "We then, who are this new soul, know

Of what we are compos'd and made,"

- John Donne, 'The Extasic'.

Quotes On Misogyny And Cynicism

Here are some of the finest quotes on misogyny and cynicism!

32. "Now thou has loved me one whole day,

Tomorrow when you leav’st, what wilt thou say?

Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?

Or say that now

We are not just those persons which we were?"

- John Donne, 'Woman's Constancy'.

33. "For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,

For thou thyself art thine own bait:

That fish, that is not catch'd thereby,

Alas, is wiser far than I."

- John Donne, 'The Bait'.

34. "Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,

And thee, feign'd vestal, in worse arms shall see;

Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,

And he, whose thou art then, being tir'd before,

Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think

Thou call'st for more,"

- John Donne, 'The Apparition'.

35. "I can love her, and her, and you, and you,

I can love any, so she be not true."

- John Donne, 'The Indifferent'.

36. "Yet send me back my heart and eyes,

That I may know, and see thy lies,

And may laugh and joy, when thou

Art in anguish

And dost languish

For some one

That will none,

Or prove as false as thou art now."

- John Donne, 'The Message'.

37. "He is stark mad, whoever says,

That he hath been in love an hour,

Yet not that love so soon decays,

But that it can ten in less space devour."

- John Donne, 'The Broken Heart'.

38. "Though she were true, when you met her,

And last, till you write your letter,

Yet she

Will be

False, ere I come, to two, or three."

- John Donne, 'Song: Go And Catch A Falling Star'.

Quotes On Romantic Togetherness

Enlisted below some of the greatest romantic togetherness on John Donne.

39. "Sat we two, one another's best.

Our hands were firmly cemented

With a fast balm, which thence did spring;

Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread

Our eyes upon one double string;"

- John Donne, 'The Ecstasy'.

39. "Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die."

- John Donne, 'The Good-Morrow'.

40. "Stand still, and I will read to thee

A lecture, love, in love's philosophy."

- John Donne, 'A Lecture Upon The Shadow'.

41. "And now good-morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;

For love, all love of other sights controls,

And makes one little room an everywhere."

- John Donne, 'The Good-Morrow'.

42. "Busy old fool, unruly sun,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windows, and through curtains call on us?

Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?"

- John Donne, 'The Sun Rising'.

Other Famous John Donne Quotes

Here are some of the other famous quotes of John Donne.

43. "God made sun and moon to distinguish the seasons, and day and night; and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons. In Paradise, the fruits were ripe the first minute, and in heaven, it is always autumn."

- John Donne.

44. "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.

45. "True joy is the earnest which we have of heaven, it is the treasure of the soul, and therefore should be laid in a safe place, and nothing in this world is safe to place it in."

- John Donne, 'The Works Of John Donne: With A Memoir Of His Life'.

46. "Doth not a man die even in his birth? The breaking of prison is death, and what is our birth, but a breaking of prison?"

- John Donne, 'The Works Of John Donne'.

47. "Love was as subtly caught, as a disease; But being got it is a treasure sweet, which to defend is harder than to get: And ought not be profaned on either part, for though 'Tis got by chance, 'Tis kept by art."

- John Donne, 'Delphi Complete Poetical Works Of John Donne'.

48. "We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats and drink and air and exercises, and we hew and we polish every stone that goes to that building; and so our health is a long and regular work. But in a minute a cannon batters all, overthrows all, demolishes all. "

- John Donne.

49. "I do not love a man, except I hate his vices, because those vices are the enemies, and the destruction of that friend whom I love."

- John Donne, 'The Works Of John Donne: Sermons. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions'.

50. "All mankind is one volume. When one man dies, a chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. And every chapter must be translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice."

- John Donne, 'The Works Of John Donne: With A Memoir Of His Life'.

51. "There is nothing that God hath established in a constant course of nature, and which therefore is done every day, but would seem a Miracle, and exercise our admiration, if it were done but once."

- John Donne, 'LXXX Sermons'.

52. "Man is not only a contributory creature, but a total creature; he does not only make one, but he is all; he is not a piece of the world, but the world itself, and next to the glory of God, the reason why there is a world."

- John Donne.

53. "God affords no man the comfort, the false comfort of Atheism: He will not allow a pretending Atheist the power to flatter himself, so far, as to seriously think there is no God."

- John Donne, 'John Donne: Selections From Divine Poems, Sermons, Devotions, And Prayers'.

54. "Men perish with whispering sins-nay, with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience that they are sins."

- John Donne, 'John Donne: The Major Works'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for John Donne quotes then why not take a look at William Wordsworth, and Keats quotes.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >