Essay on A Valediction Forbidden Mourning

Submitted By chrisfayers
Words: 1110
Pages: 5

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’ – John Donne
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning is a love poem about a man forced to spend time apart from his lover. It was written in the 1600’s where travel back then was in long periods and was a common heartbreaker for most couples as they have to survive being away from their lovers. Its general purpose was to emphasise the love between the couple and that their love is so refined and so much purer than everyone else’s. Before he leaves he tells her that their farewells and goodbyes shouldn’t occur with crying, mourning or sorrow and that their love should ‘melt’ or connect. He also says that they should leave without “tear floods” and “sigh tempests”, as for too much publicity would announce their feelings in such a way that would profane their love. He also says that when the earth moves meaning lots of travel, it brings harms and fears, but when spheres experience ‘trepidation’ though impact is much greater, it is also innocent. The love of dull sublunary lovers cannot survive the times of their lovers not being there physically; but the love he shares with his beloved is so refined and ‘ inter assured of the mind’ that they don’t need to worry about missing the eyes, lips and hands because they love each other spiritually. Though he must go, their souls are still one and therefore experiencing an ‘expansion’, in the same way that gold can be stretched by beating it to ‘aery thinness”. The soul they share will simply stretch and if they separate, he says that their feet are like compasses. His lover’s foot will be fixed in the centre at home, and the man’s foot moves around her like a circle for job commitments. The firmness of the center foot (woman) makes the outer foot’s (man) circle perfect. An example of that would be ….”thy firmness makes my circle just…….and makes me end where I begun”.
The main meaning of this poem is to directly state the idea of the poem is elevated, profound, soulful and spiritual love. The language and phrases in this poem shows old poetic language and meanings which means that it was written in the 1600’s and is historical. In those days there were no ‘travel around the world overnight’ thing; it was months or even years of travel to get around the world and the impact and effect it had on people in love would’ve been that their lovers would be away for a long periods of time and that is why the man is writing so many powerful and meaningful phrases and demands to his lover. It is so that the couple will have no sober or depression about the absence of one another and that they have to accept the fact that they are far away from each other and will have each other spiritually. They are keeping their love very pure and stating that their love is more precious than anyone else’s.
The compass metaphor is probably the stand out poetic technique of this poem with good imagery. …” As stiffe twin compasses are two..” is a good imagery of the woman staying put or fixed in one position at home while the man travelling around and ‘orbiting’ her until he makes a ‘perfect circle’ meaning that is adventure has ended and is back home.
The rhyme technique is used in an ABAB pattern and has made the poem catchy and has a certain rhythm to it.
The imagery the man uses in the poem is very expressive and detailed; examples would be the compass, Dull sublunary lovers, refined love, not having emotions, and returning back home. It also makes the tone of the poem very intense and romantic as he tells the lover goodbye.

The writer also uses similies in the poem. An example would be when he compares their love to dull sublunary lovers where he says they are not like them where they need their lover there physically.

The man in this poem is trying to express the amount of love he has for his lover and trying to make the love as pure as he can . Examples of this would be ..”twere prophanation