No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

In more modern English:

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 bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

John Donne’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is actually an excerpt from “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions” written in 1624. The poem was made famous in Ernest Hemingway’s book, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” which tells the fictional story of an American man working with locals in the Spanish Civil War to blow up a bridge. The book takes this particular passage and explores it further. It discusses the ebbing away of the soul as men kill each other and the world descends into a blood-drunken chaos. It admits that killing is sometimes necessary, but always wrong — and while that internal conflict might not manifest in a dramatic, tearful episode of flashbacks, it might still quietly ebb away at the spirit.