John Donne

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John Donne's poem, "The Bait," is a clever response to the romantic ideas portrayed by both Christopher Marlowe in "The Passionate Shepard to His Love," and Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard. Through connotative and denotative language, Donne is able to clearly portray a sarcastic image of love and deception.

"The Bait" is a poem in direct parody of those of Marlowe and Raleigh. In Marlowe's poem, one is trying desperately to convince another that he can possibly offer several wonderful advantages through his love, therefore, to love him would be a wise choice. His offers include eternal pleasures and worldly wonders that could far out do the love of another. However, through Raleigh's poem, faults in Marlowe's proposal are demonstrated as the object of lust clearly reveals that this shepherds love is of little interest and would in fact be ravaged by the continuously changing seasons of time as the promised roses would fade and wither while the beautifully calm waters of the rivers would turn sharp and desolately cold. Through, "The Bait," Donne sides a bit more with Raleigh as his position also is offensive to that of the shepherd. As Donne begins his poem, readers are cleverly deceived into believing that this point of view supports that of Marlowe through lines such as, "The will the river whispering run; warmed more by thine eyes than the sun," and further, "Each fish where every channel hath, will amorously to thee swim, gladder to catch thee than thou him." This leads readers to believe that the second party is persuaded and rather enamored with the promises entailed by the shepherd. However, as all turns cold, this poem turns its outlook around to demonstrate that the love of the shepherd truly does not believe in his goodness and loyalty as she chooses to retort that the poor fish caught by his promises have truly stumbled across false promises and deceit.

It is at this point that readers can clearly view the correctness in naming...
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