Analysis Of Forbidding Mourning By John Donne

2165 Words 9 Pages
“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”: Love As a Metaphor
Few poets could incorporate an old man dying, a natural disaster, and a mathematical instrument into a love poem but John Donne does so in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.” Donne employs many uncommon symbols in his metaphors, including an earthquake and a compass. Despite how unrelated these symbols are to love, he still conveys a serious, heartfelt message about the speaker’s lover to the reader. The poem’s meter, rhyme scheme, and structure strictly follow the set form and rarely deviate from it with the exception of a few syllables around the sixth stanza in the entire poem. The strict structure of the poem leaves room for Donne to intentionally change the form and draw attention
…show more content…
He was born into a Catholic family, whose religion played a huge role in Donne’s life and writing. In 1621, he became a priest at St. Paul’s, where he wrote religious poems. Donne wrote poems that doubted his worthiness to God, and that he did not merit God’s grace, which explains why he was reluctant to become a priest. “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” was written sometime between 1611 and 1612 and published two years after his death, in 1633. Since then, the poem has gained a lot of attention because of the bond described between the speaker of the poem and his lover. It is probable that Donne wrote this poem for his wife and gave it to her before leaving in 1611. His wife was sick and pregnant at the time and protested being left behind when John left to tour Europe (Jokinen). “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” is part of a collection called “Songs and Sonnets” and is widely considered ingenious for it’s analogies to describe the speaker’s relationship. (“John …show more content…
The shaking of the earth brings harm and fears but the trepidation of the spheres, like earth’s revolution around the sun, is quiet and innocent. In this metaphor, the loud, shaking of the earth is weaker than the movement of the earth around the sun even though the earth’s revolution is unnoticed. The earthquake-revolution complex is an analogy between weak love and strong love; just because a love is stronger doesn’t mean that it is more noticeable. The previous metaphor, asking his wife to remain silent about their dissolution, coincides with this analogy, supporting the idea that their love is strong. This stanza doesn’t directly say anything about the speaker’s relationship but it does support the metaphor that resolves to their relationship. However, it does bring up the ideas of a higher order by bringing up the shaking of the spheres, and how they are much larger. The metaphor containing nature and universe is brought together in the fourth stanza: “Dull sublunary lovers’ love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things which elemented it.” (13-16). Donne calls typical sublunary love dull and meaningless, sort of like how earthquakes on earth are nothing compared to the trembling of

Related Documents

Related Topics