It tolls for thee, John Donne (March 31, 1631)--and it tolls for Anne Hyde, the Duchess of York (March 31, 1671) and her nephew Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, former governor of New York(1701-1708), deserter of James II (March 31, 1723)! Obviously, a mixture of Old and New (calendars, that is!). Of the three, I will focus on John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, poet, pamphleter, Anglican preacher and former Catholic:
John Donne was born in Bread Street, London in 1572 to a prosperous Roman Catholic family - a precarious thing at a time when anti-Catholic sentiment was rife in England. His father, John Donne, was a well-to-do ironmonger and citizen of London. Donne's father died suddenly in 1576, and left the three children to be raised by their mother, Elizabeth, who was the daughter of epigrammatist and playwright John Heywood and a relative of Sir Thomas More.
Donne also made the bad decision of clandestinely marrying his employer's niece in 1601 and spent time in jail. He was not able to gain any preferment from James I, even though he wrote two anti-Catholic pamphlets, and therefore became a minister in the Church of England in 1615.
Donne reluctantly entered the ministry and was appointed a Royal Chaplain later that year. In 1616, he was appointed Reader in Divinity at Lincoln's Inn (Cambridge had conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity on him two years earlier). Donne's style, full of elaborate metaphors and religious symbolism, his flair for drama, his wide learning and his quick wit soon established him as one of the greatest preachers of the era.