Monday, July 19, 2010

John Donne - for whom the bell tolls

Engraving from Thomas More's 'Utopia'James Fallows, thinking about Dick Cheney's new artificial heart, (an LVAD)was prompted to think about John Donne's famous reflection and to provide a link to the poet's
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions


Now this bell tolling softly for another,
says to me, Thou must die.

In its most famous passage Donne writes:

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 bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors.  Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.  No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.  If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.  Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it.  Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Issuma: her builder joins the crew

They're getting into the high latitudes now: 
Latitude: 53 6.9'N
Longitude: 55 47.9'W

That's nearing the equivalent of Cape Horn.

Richard reveals today that Yann, who built the boat, and sailed it 48,000 miles before Richard bought it, joined the crew in St. John.  This is a very important addition, making likely a very northerly attempt - Hudson Bay?  Greenland?  To keep current go to Issuma.
Images: current position, Hall Harbor and abandoned buildings, Yann & RichardXPlot position map