a valediction forbidding mourning n.
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“A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”. John Donne (1572-1631) . Metaphysical Conceit.

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metaphysical conceit
Metaphysical Conceit
  • a conceitis an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs an entire poem or poetic passage. A metaphysical conceit usually draws a comparison between two unrelated or random-seeming things – a connection that is not physical.
  • In 1611, John Donne wrote "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" to his wife, Anne More Donne, to comfort her while he was in France conducting government business and she remained home in Mitcham, England. Like most poetry of Donne's time, it did not appear in print during the poet's lifetime.
  • Donne worked for a time as secretary for Sir Thomas Edgerton. When he fell in love with Anne More, the niece of Edgerton's second wife, he knew Edgerton and Ann's father, Sir George More, would disapprove of the marriage.
  • He married her anyway, in 1601, the year she turned 17. As a result, he lost his job and was jailed for a brief time.
  • Sir Robert Drury befriended him and took Donne on a diplomatic mission with him to France and other countries.
  • Donne's separation from his wife at this time provided him the occasion for writing "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." She was pregnant when he was leaving.
  • Anne bore him twelve children, five of whom died in early childhood or at birth. She died in 1617 at the age of thirty-three. He lived until 1631, fourteen years later, and died at the age of fifty-nine.
  • Valediction is derived from the Latin verb valedicere, meaning “to say farewell.”
  • Another English word derived from the same Latin verb is “valedictorian,” a student scholar who delivers a farewell address at a graduation ceremony.
  • “…like gold to aery thinness beat…”
  • This simile inspired the art above my door.
metaphysical conceit1
Metaphysical Conceit
  • A metaphor comparing two very unconnected things, very random-seeming, yet justified by clear logic
  • Example:
  • Tone words related to emotions