• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

John Donne 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning'.

Extracts from this document...


John Donne 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning' This poem is purported to have been written in 1611, when Donne left his wife to journey to France. In terms of theme, the poem yet again deals with the immensity and permanence of the love between poet and beloved; in terms of conceits, this poem contains one of Donne's most famous conceits, that of the twin compasses in verses 7-9; however, the poem is also interesting as containing other scientific references to the craft of metallurgy and to Renaissance astronomical and metereological theory. Basically, the poem falls into three sections elaborating three different conceits, each of which provides a different metaphoric way for the beloved to view her absence from the poet, and to be consoled. The first conceit, elaborated upon in verses 1-3, is a metereological and astronomical one. It begins, in verse 1, with a comparison between departure for a journey and departure in death; in this regard, the beloved is advised to emulate a 'virtuous man' who would 'whisper to his soul to go' without melodrama or hysterics or fear, dying so imperceptibly that his friends cannot tell if he has stopped breathing or not. ...read more.


The second section of the poem shifts ground and moves to yet another conceit meant to console the beloved: here the reference is to metallurgy. In this case 'Dull sublunary lovers' are like dross metal, 'dull' and unrefined, mixed with earth and 'sense;' as a result they cannot bear physical 'absence' because 'it doth remove/Those things which elemented it,' that is, the baser elements. In human terms, the baser elements are, of course, the physical and sexual elements of love: once again, 'sublunary' love, which focuses on the physical, cannot bear absence because it has not been refined and purified; it is like a lump of mixed ores which, if the lesser ores are removed, cannot exist as it once was. However, Donne reassures his beloved that their love has been 'so much refined,' purged of all its grosser elements to such fineness that it has become a metal so perfect 'That ourselves know not what it is.' Because their love is so perfect, refined of all its grosser elements, they 'Care less eyes, lips and hands to miss,' as they are aware that their love transcends such things and is 'Inter-assured of the mind.' ...read more.


In this poem, therefore, Donne uses three different conceits to trebly reassure his wife of their enduring, supralunary, refined, purified, love, a love which has transcended the physical and the sexual and so can transcend physical separation. It is a love like that described in 'The Anniversary,' the love of two souls which will transcend the death of the body. This poem is celebrated for its innovative use of conceits from Renaissance science to image this love. In structural terms, this poem is written using 'long meter,' or the four by four line: four lines to a verse, with four strong stresses in each line; each verse rhymes on the first and third lines, and again on the second and fourth. This verse form, while highly straightforward, is also very soothing in its repetitive familiarity, and is an apt form chosen for a poem that is meant to console. Additionally, the straightforwardness of the form is suited to the Donne's purpose in delivering an unequivocal message of consolation, a fact which is also echoed in his threefold attempt to console the beloved. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. Critical Analysis:The Good Morrow by John Donne.

    two lovers went through life asleep and unaware, and have only now fully woken up to a new true love. Alternatively, one could also assume that this metaphor is also relevant to the poet; one could argue that Donne has woken up to a new Anglican life and security from Catholic persecution.

  2. Erika Kohut's Absence of Revolt

    It had to be an artistic profession, so she could squeeze money out of the arduously achieved perfection, while average types would stand around the artist, admire her, applauding her. Now, Erika has at last been patted into perfection." (p.23, 24)

  1. A Valediction Forbidden Mourning vs. Love Poem.

    For an example-"shyness". On the other hand, Donne seems to know and have felt every little good and exciting thing that the love has to offer. He doesn't just use general terms, he goes into a very deep and profound description of them, without actually naming any.

  2. The Sunne Rising - John Donne.

    Indeed, it seems that this bed is all that the writer needs in life, and in the last two lines of the stanza, as in the first, we can feel the tempo slowing more, with the tone being calm and concluding.

  1. John Donne 'The Sunne Rising'.

    that the love between the lover and his mistress is so great that it becomes the entire world, beside which the external world pales and fades; given that this is so, the sun can halt its celestial movement and simply light and warm the bed the lovers lie in since in warming that he warms the whole globe.

  2. The portrayal of love in a valediction - Forbidding mourning.

    When one of the lovers travels, the other "harkens after it;" finally becoming complete in every emotional sense (31), "growing erect [strong] as that [the missing Bevin-Alexis Barr 2 Mary Chan English 101 H4 lover] comes home" (32). Unlike the commoners, these two lovers function in their own right when

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work