These poems speak, as [Philip] Yancey says, to “the guilt and fear and helpless faith that marked [Donne’s] darkest days.” They also answer one of the toughest questions we can face, “In the midst of plague times, how can we give thanks?”
Here are the three poems excerpted by Yancey, with his clarifying revisions of Donne’s eighteenth-century language…
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.
John Donne 1572-1631 pic.twitter.com/75N1Yoe5Rm
— Nicholas J. Ordinans (@Nowanoz) March 26, 2020