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"I am the quintessence of nothingness." John Donne (1572 - 1631).

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"I am the quintessence of nothingness." John Donne
By an unknown English artist, c. 1595.

John Donne (1572-1631) was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets, love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons.

I particularly like his collected sermons - in his service as The Bishop of St. Paul's Cathedral, London!
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No, this is the one that does show his hands - unknown artist - but it is usually shown in this crop. Certainly it would have not made a good puzzle to have presented the full image. . .though I only saw one full image, and many of this smaller version, with most of these smaller version with very dark background. I found one that allowed me to brighten it a bit. . . at least to be able to bring out some of that background, including the text above him.


I've seen this portrait (displayed next to William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It's a very dark and gloomy portrait. I wonder if this is another as the one in the NPG shows his hands.


Holly, I am presenting that Meditation in another small set on John Donne. But I leafed through many volumes of Donne's work I have here in my library (I always go to the books on the shelf before I resort to online search) and did not find "Meditation XVII". . . hummm? I have perhaps 10 different titles (most old/antique like the 2-volumes shown in this set) but none have this "meditation" - so finally had to resort to the internet. But time in stacks was wonderful. Thank you for setting me on this delightful hunt.
His collected Sermons is my favorite. . . and comes with someone's marginal notes in a fine hand! As you say "still relevant" and I would add as relevant as Rumi!


I love "The Donne" - as any of my former students can attest! Such a fascinating person. Meditation 17 remains my favorite - and still so relevant. Thank you for your John Donne puzzles. :)


Thank you for adding that. It's one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, I believe.

On a lighter note, my nickname among my group of highschool friends was Clod (they saw my prowess in gym class). As I recall, one of my friends borrowed from the quote below when signing my yearbook.


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.


I wish someone would have done a painting of him in the pulpit at St. Paul's! And yes, an Evensong at St. Paul's was part of that pilgrimage. . . and I took two London teenagers with me, and they were blown away by the experience!


I had no idea what he looked like. Sad that the artist is unknown. It's a wonderful portrait. TY, Audrey!

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