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'Comparing The Imagery, Language And Relationships In Holy Sonnet 1 To Those In Holy Sonnet 14, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning & Sun Rising

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'Comparing The Imagery, Language And Relationships In Holy Sonnet 1 To Those In Holy Sonnet 14, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning & Sun Rising John Donne's poems and sonnets do not describe a single unchanging view of love; they express a wide variety of emotions and attitudes, as if Donne himself were trying to describe his experience of love through his poetry. I can see that there are connections between the four pieces and we are given a view of Donne's attitude to love. He seems to be saying that love can be an experience of the body, the soul, or both; it can be a religious experience, or just a sexual one, and it can give rise to emotions ranging from ecstasy to despair. He gives us an insight into the complex range of experiences that can be grouped under the single heading of 'Love'. Donne is obviously a religious man. His love poems look at physical and spiritual love and the sonnets are concerned with death and the possibility of the soul's union with God. It also occurred to me that time plays a big part in his poetry, whether it is the lovers who are immune to time in 'The Sun Rising or the fact that the writer is almost out of time as in Holy Sonnet 1. ...read more.


He frees love from the demands of time: "Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime, Nor hours, months days, which are the rage of time." He demeans the sun, saying that he could shut the sun's beams out at any time by closing his eyes, but then he would lose sight of her. He uses extravagant imagery to praise his lover, saying her eyes shine brighter than the sun; "If her eyes have not blinded thine" Donne also uses the imagery of an alchemist trying to make gold out of metal or lead "All honour's mimic; all wealth alchemy." However, their love is 24 carat gold and cannot be mimicked like this. The imagery of the beating of metal; is continued in Holy Sonnet 14. The first image is of God beating his heart ; "Batter my heart" and Donne says that he cannot break his own heart, so he asks God to break his heart for him. It shows a dislike towards his mortal body and that his soul is in need of repair; " seek to mend..." and "make me new" The language, gives an imagery of repair and maintenance. It is only God the creator, unlike human craftsmen, who is capable of this spiritual transformation. ...read more.


But the point is that they never were apart! Finally, in the last stanza, he makes an invitation to her and the reader to believe what he is saying. If you "end where I begun," we are forever connected, our souls are joined, that is the basis of our love, that is what love is, and when two are joined in love, there is no need to fear physical changes, because nothing can tear it apart. So, there is the valediction that forbids mourning, forbids sadness, when a true love undergoes "mere" physical changes. Donne's poetry is tender and passionate whereas the sonnets tend to be more harsh and have a definite religious message. His poems do not idealise women or love, instead love is viewed as a mutual effort. In Holy Sonnet 1 Donne states that we are sinners whom only God can forgive but I think the underlying message is always that God is the creator and giver of love and that spiritual love can be reached through physical love. He keeps coming back to the point that man does have a soul and, as in A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning when souls are truly united in such spiritual love, no physical changes, not absence or even death, can change that love. Jess Murphy 10.12.01 ...read more.

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