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Views & Reviews Between the lines

A Donne deal

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 09 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:307
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    John Donne, dean of St Paul's, is among the greatest poets in the English language. He was also a great meditator on disease: not surprisingly, perhaps, for in his day there was a lot of it about. In the 22nd of his Devotions on Emergent Occasions, which he wrote in response to a severe fever that nearly killed him, he says: “How ruinous a farme hath man taken, in taking himselfe! How ready is the house every day to fall downe, and how is all the ground overspread with weeds, all the body with diseases! where not onely every turfe, but every stone, beares weedes; not onely every muscle of the flesh, but every bone of the body, hath some infirmitie; every little flint upon the …

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