A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning By John Donne

Essay by cassius887College, UndergraduateA-, November 2004

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John Donne's poem, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," is one depicting the beauty of love. The poem, a farewell, is written to his about when Donne must depart for a period of time. His metaphysical style of poetry, including thought provoking comparisons and imagery, makes his style all the more intriguing. This valediction is perhaps his greatest proclamation of love.

Donne's use of comparison via simile and metaphor throughout the poem is nothing short of brilliant. The first two stanzas contain one of profound meaning in which he compares his departure from his lover to the death of virtuous men. In days of greater belief in Heaven and Hell, it was the virtuous man who needn't fear dying, as they were sure of their place above. "As virtuous men pass mildly," so too, will Donne from his wife. Donne doesn't fear this "death", as he knows the love they share is far too great, too profound to be affected by mere physical separation.

He even goes on to reinforce this message, feeling that it would sully what they have to share it with those less holy than they. So sacred, this love, that "to tell the laity" would be an irreverent "profanation of [their] joys".

A striking image comes in the second stanza, as well, when Donne asks that he and his lover "melt, and make no noise." This silent and abstract image of pure and complete unification of two beings is as effective as a stanza of words. The conceit in the poem may be the illustration, but it is this sort of imagery that colors in the lines.

When he compares with and thinks of the "sublunary lovers' love," Donne finds it to be pale and unfulfilling. He sees this type of love as...