Monday, May 18, 2015

because I am involved in mankind

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.

John Donne
(1572 - 1631)

From Donne's verse, the well-known phrase "for whom the bell tolls" was borrowed and used as a title for a novel

and as the title of the film based on that novel.

-------------------- [excerpt, Hemingway novel] ------------------ "Where did you hear all this?" asked Pablo.  Robert Jordan registered that he was not taking any of the flattery.

"I heard it from Buitrago to the Escorial," he said, naming all the stretch of country on the other side of the lines.

"I know no one in Buitrago nor in Escorial," Pablo told him.

"There are many people on the other side of the mountains who were not there before.  Where are you from?"

"Avila.  What are you going to do with the dynamite?"

"Blow up a bridge."

"What bridge?"

"That is my business."

"If it is in this territory, it is my business.  You cannot blow bridges close to where you live.  You must live in one place and operate in another.  I know my business.  One who is alive, now, after a year, knows his business."

"This is my business," Robert Jordan said.  "We can discuss it together.  Do you wish to help us with the sacks?"

"No," said Pablo and shook his head.

The old man turned toward him suddenly and spoke rapidly and furiously in a dialect that Robert Jordan could just follow.  It was like reading Quevedo. 

Anselmo was speaking old Castilian and it went something like this, "Art thou a brute?  Yes.  Art thou a beast?  Yes, many times.  Hast thou a brain?  Nay.  None.  Now we come for something of consummate importance and thee, with thy dwelling place to be undisturbed, puts thy foxhole before the interests of humanity. 

Before the interests of thy people.  I this and that in the this and that of thy father.  I this and that and that in thy this.  Pick up that bag."

Pablo looked down.

"Every one has to do what he can do according to how it can be truly done," he said.  "I live here and I operate beyond Segovia.  If you make a disturbance here, we will be hunted out of these mountains.  It is only by doing nothing here that we are able to live in these mountains.  It is the principle of the fox."

"Yes," said Anselmo bitterly.  "It is the principle of the fox when we need the wolf."

"I am more wolf than thee," Pablo said and Robert Jordan knew that he would pick up the sack.  ---------------------- [end excerpt] ---------------

{For Whom the Bell Tolls - Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940.}


"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk.  That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-- Ernest Hemingway


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