A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John DonneJohn Donne was an English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of his contemporaries.
Despite his great education and poetic talents, he lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. In 1615 he became an Anglican priest and, in 1621, was appointed the Dean of St Pauls Cathedral in London.
John Donne: Poems Summary and Analysis of "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"
John Donne, a 17th-century writer, politician, lawyer, and priest, wrote "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" on the occasion of parting from his wife, Anne More Donne, in Donne was going on a diplomatic mission to France, leaving his wife behind in England. A "valediction" is a farewell speech. This poem cautions against grief about separation, and affirms the special, particular love the speaker and his lover share. Like most of Donne's poems, it was not published until after his death. Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
Like gold to airy thinness beat. This poem is in the public domain. Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans.
The poet begins by comparing the love between his beloved and himself with the passing away of virtuous men. Such men expire so peacefully that their friends cannot determine when they are truly dead. Earthquakes bring harm and fear about the meaning of the rupture, but such fears should not affect his beloved because of the firm nature of their love. Other lovers become fearful when distance separates them—a much greater distance than the cracks in the earth after a quake—since for them, love is based on the physical presence or attractiveness of each other. Indeed, the separation merely adds to the distance covered by their love, like a sheet of gold, hammered so thin that it covers a huge area and gilds so much more than a love concentrated in one place ever could. He finishes the poem with a longer comparison of himself and his wife to the two legs of a compass. They are joined at the top, and she is perfectly grounded at the center point.
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. Launch Audio in a New Window. By John Donne. As virtuous men pass mildly away,. And whisper to their souls to go.
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