A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning


It is a dramatic monologue, dedicated to John Donne's wife (even if she was still alive). The first two stanzas are linked by the argumentative words "as" and "so". There is a simily, called conceipt: the poet tells her wife not to cry or to make noise, in order to preserve their love, because anyway they would let everybody interfere in their relationship and to criticize it. The poet says that the two lovers have to act as wise men do, in silent. Their love is so important and perfect that it is holy, it is an exceptional love, not a conventional one. Their love is elevated and sacred. (In the Renaissance poetry: the woman was so perfect and pure that she has to refuse the poet's love. Love was portraited as something needed to elevate soul. The lady was phraised for her purity, perfection and the poet was so deeply in love that he accept to celebrate a woman that rejects him) Semantic field of religion.
Simily between the behaviour of dying men and the two lovers' one. There is an allitteration of the "s" sound. In the third stanza the poet deals with natural elements a fenomenies belonging to astronomy and geology . It refers to the interpretation of the movement of the universe. The poet underlines that the universe is so perfect that its movement is imperceptible and doesn't create damage, the earth on the contrary, with earthquakes, brings damage and pain. The poem deals with the tolemaic theory, even if the copernican one has already been discovered. Poets of the time knew that that something new has been discovered but, in order to not create anxiety, they keep maintaining the tolemaic vision in their poetry.
The poet underlines, in the 4th stanza, that ordinary lovers' love is fomented by physicalness, and it is reduced when the two lovers are not togheter, the separation becomes an intolerable condition. The poet describes his relationship with his lady and says that they are not at risk when they are separated because their love is not only physical but also spiritual and intellectual, so separation can't damage their relationship. In the text it is present an opposition between physical and spiritual love. We also notice some "run on" lines (lines 19-20, lines 13-14). The poet compares his love to gold, a metal that is appreciated for its features, which endure being bitten to "airy thinners". Gold is valuable for its substance and its rarity. Simily highlights the quality of the two lovers' love. It's precious like gold and it is as strong as the metal. From the sixth to the last stanza the main theme is the unity of the two lovers' soul, the uniqueness of their love. Their love is special and strong, it is an expanding love, that nothing can destroy. It can face every problem (separation, conflict, disagreement).
In the last stanzas there is a conceipt that offers a suitable example of metaphysical poetry, showing how different it is from the conventional lyrical poetry for the use of conceipt and element that belong to real life rather than to the sphere of feelings and emotions. The two lovers' souls are compared to a compass, which is the emblem of costancy: it moves but it never abandones its place. The poet tells his wife that he will behave like one of the foot of the compass and he will be back soon because she is and will always be the centre of his existence.
The poem is the perfect example of metaphysical poetry for the use of unexpected simily and figures of speech and for the creation of unexpected visual images. John Donne draws images from different semantic fields (geography, astronomy, geology, metal). He creates relationships with objects and situations which astonished the public of the time for the unsuitable associations. His use of argumentative words makes his poem colloquial in tone and, thanks to it, the poet's argument aquires the quality of a logical development of the speaker's idea.
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