Who is responsible for the quote, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"?


John Donne first wrote the words, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." It is the last part of a longer passage in Mediation XVII of his "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions."

The passage from which this quote is taken begins with another famous phrase: "No man is an island." It has to do with death and the interconnectedness of humanity. Some believe that it means that each time a person hears a funeral bell, he is that much closer to his own death. Others feel that the meaning is that humanity is all one, and when one person dies, a part of each living person dies as well.

Ernest Hemingway made "for whom the bell tolls" famous when he used the quote as the title of a book that is set during the Spanish Civil War. The entire passage appears in the book's epigraph.

Q&A Related to "Who is responsible for the quote, "Ask not for..."
John Donne wrote "never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for
If i remember correctly, the bell represented death, like church bells. They toll when there's a funeral so the bells signal when someone has died. 'it tolls for thee" = it tolls
21 November 1962 (USA) See more »
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each 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
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