A Valediction Forbidding Mourning: Lyric Poem

Topics: Poetry, John Donne, Metaphysical poets Pages: 4 (1324 words) Published: August 11, 2011
The title of this lyric poem is ‘ A valediction forbidding mourning’ - written by John Donne - in the first person point of view. The speaker is a man and most likely a saint who would not participate in acts that are profane. A valediction is a farewell message. As seen in the title, forbids his wife from sorrowing over their separation, the poet decides to present reasons why his embassy to France will not occasion grief or anxiety. He accomplishes this through a series of conceits - similes and strikingly unusual metaphors. Donne is a metaphysical poet who uses metaphoric conceit in his poems by comparing two incredibly unlike things such as love and demeanors. Death is used as a metaphor in the departure of his wife. First, he compares his separation from his wife to the separation of a man's soul from his body when he dies (first stanza). The body represents physical love; the soul represents spiritual or intellectual love. While Donne and his wife are apart, they cannot express physical love; thus, they are like the body of a dead being.. However, Donne says, they remain united spiritually because their souls are one. So, Donne continues, he and his wife should let their physical bond "melt" when they part (line 5). He follows that metaphor with others, saying they should not cry sentimental "tear-floods" or indulge in "sigh-tempests" (line 6) when they say farewell. Such base sentimentality would cheapen their relationship. He also compares himself and his wife to celestial spheres, for their love is so profound that it exists in a higher plane than the love of husbands and wives whose relationship centers solely on physical pleasures where they require to remain together, physically...Finally, Donne compares his relationship with his wife to that of the two legs of a drawing compass. Although the legs are separate components of the compass, they are both part of the same object. If the outer leg traces a circle, the inner leg–though its point is fixed at...
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