[PW] ?Donne, Bacon, and island metaphor

John Henderson jrhenderson9 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 14:54:05 PST 2019


Help requested for any insights, information, or resources concerning
any connection between the following two quotations.

 Francis Bacon (1561–1626): "If a man be gracious and courteous to
strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart
is no island, cut off from other lands, but a continent, that joins to
them."
– from  "Of Goodness and Goodness Of Nature" originally written in
1612 and included in a collection of essays published in 1625.

John Donne (1572–1631): "No man is an island, entire of itself; every
man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."
– written in December 1623 and included in "Devotions upon emergent
occasions" published in 1624.

Here's is the query I received:
"The two lines seem too close to be entirely independent, but it seems
not only that there might have been influence in either direction, or
that both men were influenced by a common source, maybe it was a
commonplace at the time. Bacon and Donne were friends  - Bacon saw
Donne's first sermon in 1617.  I'm interested in finding out if anyone
knowledgeable has commented on the influences in this passage - I'm
sure scholars of these men must have noticed this many times."

A GoogleBooks search has also failed to yield any help. I have not
found any answers in my search of MLA Bibliography or JStor, yet. I've
sent for a couple articles through ILL that may or may not shed light.

John Henderson
retired librarian


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