“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” is a metaphysical poem by John Donne. Written in or for his wife Anne before he left on a trip to Continental. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Learning Guide by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley. As virtuous men pass mildly away, / And whisper to their souls to go, / Whilst some of their sad friends do say, / “The breath goes now,” and some say, “No,” / So.

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This poem is in the public domain.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne: Summary and Analysis

She is an independent writer specializing in literature. The speaker now admits that he and his love may have two separate souls rather than one. But because Donne and his wife have a spiritual as well as physical dimension to their love, they will never really be apart, he says.

The speaker gives here and analogy of gold. He is known as the founder of the Metaphysical Poetsa term created by Samuel Johnson, an eighteenth-century English essayist, poet, and philosopher. Their love will not snap but expand, keeping them bound together during their separation. Donne reached beyond the valrdiction and hierarchical structures of the seventeenth century with his exacting and ingenious conceits, advancing the exploratory spirit of his time.

Two years later he succumbed to religious z and joined the Anglican Church after his younger brother, convicted for his Catholic loyalties, died in prison.

This cynicism can be taken as evidence of the fact that Donne had not yet experienced love that transformed his soul and his poetry. He was finally ordained in early and quickly became one of the most respected clergymen of his time. The indirect parallel is that the inner trembling that the lovers feel at the prospect of being apart is powerful yet causes no real harm.


After leaving Oxford, he valedicgion law in London and received his degree in Donne uses gold imagery in the sixth stanza, which carries meaning on many levels.

He tries to convince her first that spiritual love cannot be affected by physical distance. The rhyme scheme for each stanza is an alternating abab, and each stanza is grammatically self-contained.

Then he tries to show her that since their souls are one, distance will only increase their love and make it more beautiful, like gold that is hammered and spread out into a thin sheet. The legs operate in unison. Finally, Donne compares his relationship with his wife to that of the two legs of a drawing compass.

Eliot as not being based on a statement of philosophical theory; Targoff argues that this is incorrect — that Donne had a consistent philosophy, and that the analogy of beaten gold can be traced to the writings of Tertullianone of Donne’s greatest religious influences.

Ann died in while giving birth to their twelfth child. Another English word derived from the same Latin verb is valedictorianreferring to a student scholar who delivers a farewell address at a graduation ceremony.

While others may fear death, the truly pious will journey to forvidding hereafter with quiet resignation and even a bit of optimism. Donne therefore uses a simile that works emotionally, since gold is valuable, but also scientifically, since the malleability of gold corresponds to the flexibility and expansiveness of their love.

Pipkin is a scholar in the fields of British and American literature. While the physical valeidction that unites us melts, we must not cry storms of tears.


A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

The meter is iambic tetrameterwith eight syllables four feet per line. Thy firmness makes my circle just”; a circle with a dot in the middle is the alchemical symbol for gold, an element referred to in a previous stanza. Donne treats their love as sacred, elevated above that of ordinary earthly lovers.

In fact, the spiritual bond that unites us actually expands; it is like gold which, when beaten with a hammer, widens and lengthens.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. First, he compares his separation from his wife to the separation of a man’s soul from his body when he dies first stanza. His work marked a turn in scientific method: John Donnewho wrote “A Valediction: A valediction is a speech or a poem of farewell, one that often carries with it some sense of foreboding or uncertainty about the events to come.

McCoy, Kathleen and Judith A.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

James I ruled England from to Real, complete love unites not only the bodies of a husband and wife but also their souls. The wish to be let alone, to be able to love privately, is especially characteristic of Donne.

Thematically, “A Valediction” is a love poem; Meg Lota Brown, a professor at the University of Arizonanotes that the entire poem but particularly the compass analogy in the final three stanzas “ascribe to love the capacity to admit changing circumstances without itself changing at the same time”.

Forbidding Mourning John Donne- He offers his wife an alternative to thinking about their souls as one and the same.