To The

Author and Translator

All mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.

John Donne, 1572-1631


Dear Visitor,

Welcome to this web site, which I invite you to think of as a page, however small in itself, in the book of life.  And, speaking of books, let me warn you that I am addicted to sentences, verses, paragraphs, stanzas, chapters, and whole books of poetry.  It may be poetry in verse, as this, by the poet Isaiah--

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens

   and return not again, but water the earth,

Bringing forth life and giving growth,

   seed for sowing and bread for eating,

So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;

   it will not return to me empty;

But it will accomplish that which I have purposed,

   and prosper in that for which I sent it.


Or it may be poetry in prose, as in the selection from Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, which begins this page, and which continues in this famous passage--

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 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.

I give you fair warning, then.  I revel in language, and will do so freely on this web site.  I am, after all, an English professor.  (I also identify with King Lear.  See the picture.)

Ralph S. Stevens III, PhD




The English Professor, Looking for King Lear



If you prefer to contact me in a mode more familiar than that of poetry, please feel free to call me at 410.951.4157 or 207.244.3619.


I also reply to email at  And to old fashioned "snail mail" at 100 Main Street, Box 76, Islesford, Maine, 04646.


Follow this link for some poetry of the eye, and some more prosaic snapshots: Pictures


And there is always poetry: Poems


Here is some information about my teaching: Courses