for whom the bell tolls

John Donne
Long quote:

"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."

From: Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)

This famous quote was borrowed as the title of the war novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940.

John Donne (1572-1631) English poet and preacher

diminish (verb): reduce; make smaller
be involved in: be part of; participate in
Mankind (noun): all human beings; all people
send to know: ask; send (someone) to ask
the bell (noun): heavy metal object that makes a musical sound when you hit it (and in this case is played when someone has died)
toll (verb): ring; sound constantly
thee (pronoun) old English: you

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Contributor: Josef Essberger