"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne

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"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," by John Donne explores love through the ideas of assurance and separation. Donne uses vivid imagery to impart his moral themes on his audience. A truer, more refined love, Donne explains comes from a connection at the mind, the joining of two souls as one. Physical presence is irrelevant if a true marriage of the minds has occurred, joining a pair of lovers' souls eternally. In order to describe the form which Donne gives to true love he chooses to create a scene of separation. He insists that when in love, absence is not a cause for despair. Stanza two describes the usual reaction lovers have to separation but explains that such reactions of tears and sighs do not prove one's love but rather the opposite by suggesting that the relationship depends on a physical connection. In stanza three then he states that it is the connection at the mind which is important to a devoted love, and that when this emotional connection of the souls is attained then "eyes, lips, and hands," are less to miss. Donne uses a compass to create a visual metaphor for their love. Although the two feet may be far apart, they are constantly joined in the center. This connection at the center is representative of the mental connection which is found at the center of true or refined love. Regardless of how far apart the feet of the compass may move, or how far apart lovers may travel, the connection which is the center of their relationship serves to hold and bring them back together. It is in this that the lovers are able to find the assurance which, gives them strength and prevents the sorrows of separation, because he insists that when two souls are one, they "endure not yet a breach, but an expansion." The love and assurance which accompanies such a union of souls is something carried regardless of distance and time. The power of these two forces is such that it is useless to cry and weep, because if true it they are stronger than any...
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