Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

Essay by Rach5407College, UndergraduateA-, November 2007

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Relentless LoveDistance can make or break a relationship. It determines whether it is worth staying together, even though a couple cannot physically be together. Most types of love could not handle the elimination of every physical aspect to a relationship. “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne is a poem about a special kind of love – a relentless love. By using comparisons and similes, Donne conveys the power that love has no matter how far away the lovers may be.

In the first stanza of “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” a comparison ofdeath to the lovers’ separation is used:As virtuous men pass mildly away,And whisper to their souls to go,Whilst some of their sad friends sayThe breath goes now, and some say, No; (1-4)The poet paints the scene of an honorable man’s death, and how those closest to him cope with his passing. A virtuous man would choose to die in silence, rather than cause a commotion about what he could not prevent.

He would want his loved ones to feel at peace with their loss. The death of a loved one or a dear friend is one of the hardest truths to accept. The death can be even harder depending on how one handles the loss. Some people feel at peace with the loss, and others are angered and saddened, demanding that it should never have happened. Death can be compared with lovers’ separating for a time, either long or short. The separation of lovers, just like death, can bring about mixed emotions. The lovers might choose to fight the separation, or they could accept it with hopes of their union in the future.

Accepting the separation is what the husband in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” believes is the best way to deal...