-------A Valediction：Forbidding Mourning
This is a farewell poem，which describes the poet is still determined to leave his wife for his career to Europe。 In the poem，the poet expresses his deep love to his wife and sadness of their coming departure, In the whole poem, the poet explains that is forced to spend time apart from his lover, at the beginning, he describes the scene of death of a virtuous man and natural disasters to pave the way and then extended to himself and his wife. Through the poem, the poet expresses his pursuit and insists of spiritual love. He borrows the vivid and unique metaphor----- compass to symbol his wife and himself. They just like the two feet of the compass, only if they are interdependent and they would be able to draw a perfect circle, what a impressive and profound poem. Keywords: Individual Style, Donne, Forbidding Mourning
1. About the poet ----- John Donne
Being an English poet, John Donne, was born in1572. He grew in a wealthy family and died in March 31, 1631 in London. His family was with strong Roman Catholic tradition, he was sent, while very young, to Trinity College, Cambridge. Later, as member of Lincoln’s Inn, he read voraciously and lived gaily. In early years, he jointed the Gitano Earl of Essex marine expeditionary force to Spain, and became the secretary to Lord Keeper Egerton, a minister of the Queen. In 1615, he converted to the Church of England, taking up teaching, becoming a famous preacher, and being appointed in St. Paul's Cathedral in London Dean in 1621. Donne is the founder and main representative of metaphysical poetry, his creations enlighten, including George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, a large number of outstanding poets to develop the so-called "Metaphysical Poetry". His works include love poems, satirical poems, proverbs poetry, religious poetry, and preaching the text and so on. He prefers to write poetry with strong rhythm, vivid language, strange and bold imagine, and often witty use of Shakespeare's metaphor. These features, in his poem "Song and ballad”, is reflected very clearly. John Donne is very talented at poem. His poetry is different from the popular sweet verse in his contemporary. . He abandons the application of traditional imagery to poetry in the past, and uses strange analogy and changing rhyme in his writing to show his unique characteristics of poetry. Therefore, he distinguishes himself from others and creates his own age by his unique way to writing poetry. His poetry leaves the literature world a big treasure.
2. Characteristics of Donne’s Poetry
The 17th century witnessed the Bourgeois Revolution and the Restoration. The Glorious Revolution marked the end of a century of disputes and battles. The state structure of England was settled, within which capitalism developed freely. English literature of this period was often concerned with the tremendous social upheavals of the time①. And during the 15th and 16th centuries is a great time for the so--called great men, especially, poets, dramatists. This period gave the poets a great space and rich writing materials. During the period an intellectual movement known as the Renaissance swept Europe. It is characterized by admiration of the Greek and Latin. It is a free--thought time, in which there is no fixed standard of literary to assure and limit the style of an individual work by contemporary value. As a poet in Renaissance, his poetry should be affected by the times’ features and value. Renaissance is a great time that people appeal to the ideological emancipation and free humanism. There is a great change in human mind. Hence people also try to look for and select the new and different elements to fill in their mind. Naturally, Donne’s poetry has his own Characteristics that he absorbs from the real world. Depending on his own particular experiences in life, his poetry deserves to have this kind of individual characteristics which just belongs to his poetry and his age. His poetry is the symbol of the time and a fresh flower of the poetry field. His poetry is full of wonderful metaphors and reasoning speculative expression. Going through his poetry you should really pay more attention to tasting its characteristics between sentences. What you can get is the shock and admiration to his skillful express. His new and deep description always can hit your mind and you have to be subjected to the so--called “Metaphysical Poetry” different image. His unexpected metaphor can always surprise and impress you deeply while his varied metrical, colloquial verse is refreshing, so you can find that the language of his poem is showed by colloquial style but the poetic rhythm has great flexibility. However, his poetry subject is complex while his writing is still full of wisdom and creativity. His innovative use of imagery and strange metaphor is the truth of his poetry and gift them the vivid colors and vitality. In all, in Donne’s poetry, we can always find his new unique metaphor, metaphor with philosophical thinking and all-encompassing metaphor. This is Donne’s “Metaphysical Poetry”, a new bloom in his poetic filed. 3. A Valediction：Forbidding Mourning
According to Walton's book --- Biography of Donne, this poem is written for his wife by Donne when he planned to left the UK to France for his career. He was in poor health while his wife was pregnant. By common sense, he should not travel to distant lands, but for the favorite official career ,Donne has decided to follow his benefactor, Sir Lurie, went to Europe, so he had a premonition that this may be the last meeting between them. Thus the whole poem was covered by sadness. At the beginning of this poetry, the poet just describes of a noble man who pass away, but the man just whisper to his soul to go. It can clearly tell us John Donne is a religious man. But he quickly extends to themselves; he just wants to tell his wife not say goodbye with tears. He also refers to the earthquake which would bring harms and fears to human being. But it cannot do harm to the love, especially, the spiritual love. From this we can know that Donne prefers to pursuit the spiritual love. It should relate to his religious faith. In this poet, which deeply impressing readers should be the clever use of the strange metaphor---compass. The two feet of compass just like a couple, they should be independent by each other to draw a perfect circle. The couple should rely on each other to run a happy family. It is a vivid and smart expression to show his feeling to his wife. This metaphor is ordinary but powerful. This metaphor brings poetry a different charming and flavor. Otherwise, this poetry has a regular end rhythm. The form is ABAB ②.The type setting of his poetry is very neat and beautiful, which can interest the readers a lot. The words are simple but powerful; the sentences are short but meaningful. The words and sentences seem to be an individual group without any relationship but they have strict links between sentences. So, it needs readers’ careful scrutiny. In this poetry, we can also admire the parallel beauty of sentences and his repetition of words. Words always can say a man’s mind. Donne’ poetry as well does it. Forbidding Mourning is a success of Donne’s poetries. It is a symbol of “Metaphysical Poetry” and a part description of Donne’s life. Going through this poetry, the beautiful parallel sentences and speech of figures are a big hit on your mind. Each sentence is an individual unity and enjoys an impressed expression. Alliteration and end rhyme always can be seen in each paragraph. In this poetry, he develops an sad scene ---"a virtuous man pass mildly away......"-- and describes a harmful earthquake by which pave the way to start his core theme ---the love to his wife. Reading carefully, the continued words always are designed with end rhyme in the sentences, such as, "Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss......” He also figures the poetry with ABAB thyme in the end of the individual sentences in each paragraph. By this, first, it can attract the readers by its clever design and be easy to read and weigh the words and taste the deep meaning of the speaker. Besides the beautiful design to the form of this poetry, the wit to use of the metaphor is the essence of this poetry. The metaphor that compass symbolizes his wife and himself, is a vivid image of them, both human bodies and their spirits. It is a living metaphor to express the deep mind of Donne and the perfect life he pursuits. The process of drawing a circle is likely as their family life. If they depend on each other, just like the two feet of a compass need to rely on each other to draw a perfect circle, and they can run a perfect family. It should be a new and remarkable use in expression and writing. This use make the poetry writing achieve another peak in his age. Forbidding Mourning is a beautiful writing which was covered by the love of the couple, but what’s more, by the sadness of the departure. The sadness is completely expressed through the expression of love. The love reflects the sadness. From the poetry, it seems to describe their love to each other, however, it tells Donne’s love to his wife more in effect. He is going to be a traveler to seek for his career and he cannot assure the back time, maybe, it is the last time to meet each other. His determined leaving causes this departure; naturally, he should have the more sadness to his wife. Of course, his wife does. But he is the writer of this poetry; his feeling is the main emotion of the poetry. In other words, it's a piece of love poetry with sadness.
Forbidding Mourning is a typical symbol of Donne’s poetry; it covers the clever use of metaphor and the beauty of end rhythm by Donne. The using of strange image and beautiful rhythm always can deeply impress readers. At the same time, we should learn to use the figures of speech to polish our writing and our speech. Rhetoric is a useful way to develop our writing. It is a cooperative art of logic and aesthetic. When we can deal with the rhetoric well to our studies, we will get the ability to admire the literary well. A typical literary always has its special feature but the vivid using figures of speech always on its way. Apparently writings always need the figures of speech to increase its charming and distinguish from others. Depending on our real life, we should try to discover the difference from the usual to make a meaningful life. Study does the same.
1. From the A Guide to English—speaking Countries《英语国家概况》 2. ABAB refers to the form of the end rhythm to Donne’s poetry----- Forbidding Mourning, such as, “Such wilt thou be to me, who must / Like th’other foot, obliquely run /Thy firmness makes my circle just,/And makes me end where I begun.”
1. History and Anthology of English Literature Ⅰ《英国文学史及选读》第一册，吴伟仁，外语教学与研究出版社,1992.8 2. A Guide to English—speaking Countries《英语国家概况》，谢福之，外语教学与研究出版社，2007.8 3. Http://www.cqvip.com
5. A Chinese Selection of English Poetry《英国诗选》第二辑,卞之琳,商务印书馆，1996.05