A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

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Eng Lit 12LG #5- The Jacobean and Puritan Age

Activity #2 - A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Through out this piece, Donne uses many vivid images to present his theme of a love that transcends the physical and, as such, can stand the test of separation. The image of the two compass legs attached, yet moving in separate circles in the line "our two souls.../they are two so/ As stiff compasses are two, thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show/ To move but doth, if th'other do." (24-26) paints a wonderfully clear picture in the readers' mind. Another striking image is used in the stanza where the author describes the manner of the two lovers parting and says "As virtuous men mildly away/ And whisper to their souls, to go, / Whilst some of their sad friends do say, / The breath goes now, and some say no: / So let us melt and make no noise" (1-5). He seems to say to her ' we do not need to make a big scene to say goodbye, we both have suck a strong understanding of the strength of our love.

On His Blindness
Milton wrote this piece in Italian sonnet form of octaves and sestets. In the first eight lines Milton dwells on his blindness and how it has stopped him from doing what he loves, writing. In the line "And that one talent with is death to hide/ Lodged with me useless" (3-4) he seems to mourn the lose of his sight and with it the lose of his ability to create his poetry. The feeling is one of lose and depression. Then in the last six lines, he answers his own depressed question of "Doth God extract day-labor, light denied?" (7) by saying that he is just as important in the scheme of things, if he only "stands and waits" (14). The last sestet seems to be a sort of moral boosting message to the poet himself.
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