All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources
Example Question #1 : Contexts Of British Prose
There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?
The author of this passage served as the Dean of which of the following cathedrals?
The author of the passage is John Donne, who served as the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London from 1621 until his death in 1631. This sermon was Donne's most famous piece of prose and is one that you should definitely know for the test.
Adapted from "Meditation XVII" in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and Severall Steps in My Sicknes by John Donne (1624)