John Donne's A Valediction Forbidding Morning

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A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning The speaker is trying to relay to his lover that since their love is "refined," it will not matter when he leaves. He proves this theory by comparing their love to that of a compass. The imagery of the compass is significant because the drawing of the circle represents their continuous bond of love.

When he is gone, the speaker wants his lover to be stoic and "…make no noise, no tear-floods…"(lines 5-6). Instead of a grand departure, the speaker shows that he and other "virtuous men," would rather meet death in a positive light. Likewise, the speaker believes that the separation between he and his own lover should be looked at positively for their love is "inter-assured of the mind,"(line 19). He doesn't want his lover to mourn in public for it would be a "profanation,"(line 7) to do so.

Their love is unlike that of, "dull, sublunary lovers, [whose], soul cannot admit absence,"(lines 13-14).

They are described as sublunary because the term refers to the surface below the moon, which is otherwise known as imperfection. Since the love between the sublunary lovers isn't pure and perfect, they would have trouble parting from each other. The only soul of their love is "sense." Instead, the speaker believes that his love will not end as a separation occurs, but "…expand, like gold to airy thinness beat,"(lines 23-24). They have become one with each other and "care less [about] eyes, lips, hands to miss,"(line 20). To the "refined" lovers, the physical need for each other is not as strong because they already share an inseparable union.

This union can more clearly be exemplified through Donne's compass simile. A geometric compass has a sharp point and a movable leg. The point of the compass represents the lover who stays behind, while the movable leg signifies the other lover on the journey to heaven. He would be incapable of making that journey unless he had the fixed point (other lover) holding him in place. Without the steady point, the circle would be unable to be completed. As one soul pivots, the other follows.

Like a circle, the love of the refined lovers is complete, but the love of the sublunary lovers is not full-grown, and thus cannot be compared to the circle drawn by the compass. Thus, in a true love, there is no end or beginning.