117. JOHN DONNE: For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Donne (1572-1631) was an English poet. This passage is taken from his work Devotions of Emergent Occasions, a compilation of reflections, meditations, prose and poetry. Donne wrote the work while recovering from a serious illness and this particular quote is taken from Meditation XVII. You can read the entire verse here. This passage was made famous after Ernest Hemingway used ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ as the title for one of his most acclaimed novels.
Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013) was a guitarist and one of the founding members of the metal band Slayer. He recently passed away due to cirrhosis of the liver, after also just recovering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease he was diagnosed with after getting bit by a spider. Before his death, Hanneman played a gig where he proudly displayed the large scars on his arm the disease had left him with.
I will not pretend I know anything about metal – the idea of this comic was suggested to me by my brother. It’s also a total coincidence that another metal band, Metallica, have a song named For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Thanks to everyone who sent in this passage, there’s too many to name. It’s definitely one of the most-requested quotes.