"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" By John Donne

700 words - 3 pages

In "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", John Donne describes a perfect and unchangeable love between two people. Throughout the poem he skillfully compares the love of the speaker and his lady to things that seem completely different to the love between them. Aside from metaphors and similes, Donne conveys double-meanings by using connotation and denotation.To understand the meaning of the poem you must first know the denotive meanings of the vocabulary. In the title "valediction" is the act of bidding farewell. Mourning is grieving or lamenting a loss. In line 7 "profanation" means unreligiously or in poor taste. In line 8 laity refers to non-cleric people. In line 11 trepidation is a tremulous motion. In line 12 innocent means free of guilt. In line 13 sublunary refers to being below the moon. And in line 16 elemented is related to or being the basic or essential ...view middle of the document...

If they publicly display their grief upon their seperation, he feels it would taint the love he shares with his wife by being no better than the love of ordinary people. Donne pleads with his lady to accept his departure. He wishes to have a peaceful seperation. "So let us melt, and make no noise." The word "melt" means a change in the physical state of love. "Noise" refers to the tears that he does not want his love to shed.The speaker compares his love to that of normal lovers. Ordinary couple's relationships often fall apart but he believes that the love between him and his lady will never end. So when he leaves he doesn't think it will have any affect on the relationship. He says that he and his wife are connected through the soul so they will never really be seperated. Donne compares his relationship to gold. Pure gold can be beaten to a very thin layer without breaking. The speaker says that since their love is precious like gold it can also be stretched without being destroyed.The figure in the last three stanzas is one of the most famous in English literature. Donne concludes the poem by comparing his relationship to "stiff twin compasses." The twin compasses are described as two legs joined permanently at the top. He is referring to the mathematical tool used in geometry. The "fixed foot" is planted firmly in the center. The other "travels" in a circle, returning to the point where it started. The speaker explains that the center foot makes sure the lover who is gone comes back to form a complete circle. The speaker says that the firmness of the love of his wife will make him come back to where he started. Donne compares this circle made by the journey to God and eternity because it has no beginning and no end. The circle also represents the perfection of the love between him and his wife.The poem as a whole is a rush of ideas and associations, very complex, and highly intellectual; at the same time it remains a love poem and teaches you to be confident in your love and your relationships.

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