An Analysis of John Donne’s Poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
The parting of two lovers
In the poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne the speaker of the poem is talking to his lover to tell her that although he is leaving their love will not be effected. It surprised me when I read the poem because I thought from the title that somebody died and this poem is to make him feel better. However the speaker describes the love between him and his lover, and there still something bad is happening to mourn and that is his departure and their separation. Thus the poetic line, the meter and the sound are all connected to the idea of parting and making the lover fell better about it.
The poem consists of short lines and that makes it flow smoothly with a rhyme at the ending. Also the shortness of the line makes the simple words that was used to stand out and be emphasized more to give the idea desired by the speaker, such as pass, souls, sad and go in the first stanza.
There is a sad tone in the poem that describes souls passing away, and tears being shed for a couple that were so much in love. Their love could not be measured because it was not only simple love with hands, lips and eyes only; these couple will miss more than these body elements because their love was based on a more complex things. The separation between the two would be a big loss for both and might get them emotionally disturbed.
However the flow of the poem and the use of simple words make this sadness less serious, and the emotions less troubled by the separation. Also to make the reader feel better about the fact that one of the two lovers is leaving. The length of the lines seems to draw the reader and make him interested of whats to come of the parting of this couple.
I did notice that the poem consists of stanzas, and each one of four lines. Also that every other line is indented to keep the poem not only balanced, easy to read and stay connected, but also to show that each line is going away from the other just like the lovers of the poem.
. The first word of each line is capitalized and starts with a connecting word, for these words keep the ideas tight and draw the readers attention and emphasize the first word of each line to make the next idea seem as important as the one before.
The importance of the points is also shown in the enjambment used in each stanza. The sentences in each stanza start with an idea that I thought was finished in the line before and I want to start a new idea in the next line but when I get to the next line I see that the idea still connected to one before it.
The enjambment makes the poem harder to read, and it shows the complexity of the thought, which is shown in the idea that the speaker is mentioning because it is hard for him to think of leaving and leave his lover behind. That makes him uncomfortable, and the same thing the poem is doing to the reader, it makes him uncomfortable with whats going on but as he goes on every thing clears.
The thing I liked about this poem is that in the stanzas that narrator uses metaphors of the gold and the compass illustrating that although the lovers are parting they still somehow connected with a strong connection. The gold is used to show that when it is beaten it doesnt separate, and the same with the compass, no matter how far its feet get away from each other they would still be connected.
The same idea is shown in the enjambment, which is a lot in the whole poem, to show that the couple are still connected even though they are parting for the while being. Thus I think that this enjambment mirrors the thought of the speaker, and it gets the reader to read more by changing the pace of the poem to make it flow more so that one would know more of the idea he is talking about.
The meter of the poem is another thing that helps it flow too. Since it is a tetra-meter Trochaic Foot, it goes with a quick, fast pace so his soul mate forgets that he is going away and to understand faster that even if he goes away they still connected and their love would last. Also the Trochaic foot has a less serious tone, which was intended by the speaker to make the idea of his departure sounds less troubling to his lover.
There are some exceptions to the tetra-meter in the poem in certain lines where it was missing one syllable especially in the beginning when he narrator said As virtuous men pass mildly away, / And Whisper to their souls to go, (1-2) he was talking about some people leaving and I understood as a bad tone like dieing, and the missing syllapul symbolizes that somebody is leaving.
Finally I noticed that there is no Alliteration in this poem. The speaker didnt repeat any sounds in his poem to prove my point that he wanted his soul mate forget about the sadness and not to mourn their parting.
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