A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. By John Donne. Michael Fernando Michelle Guzman Stephanie Parrado Melissa Simpson. ]. The key condition for a peaceful death was a " virtuous” life. Because they didn't have any regrets or guilt weighing them down..
By John Donne
The key condition for a peaceful death was a "virtuous” life. Because they didn't
have any regrets or guilt weighing them down..
Donne was so fascinated by death because he believed that was the point at which the body and soul parted ways. In this case, the dying man is able to whisper his soul out of his mortal body and on to heaven.
Donne contrasts earthly natural disasters with the bigger, grander motions of the heavenly bodies (planets, stars, moons). He was most likely influenced by his surroundings. He lived in an age of discovery, an age in which people were thinking and theorizing beyond their technology.
As virtuous men pass mildly away,And whisper to their souls, to go,Whilst some of their sad friends do say,'The breath goes now,' and some say, 'No:‘ 4
So let us melt, and make no noise,No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;'Twere profanation of our joysTo tell the laity our love. 8
Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;Men reckon what it did, and meant;But trepidation of the spheres,Though greater far, is innocent. 12.
Dull sublunary lovers' love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admitAbsence, because it doth removeThose things which elemented it. 16 But we by a love so much refin'd,That ourselves know not what it is,Inter-assured of the mind,Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss. 20Our two souls therefore, which are one,Though I must go, endure not yetA breach, but an expansion,Like gold to airy thinness beat. 24
Even though in this case "elemented" means 'started' or 'sparked,' the word itself prepares us for the upcoming metaphor about gold.
Scientists worked endlessly to purify their metals, trying to burn off any impurity. Donne is saying that his love is pure, that it isn't tainted with mere physical affection.
As it turns out, gold is a soft metal compared to others. It can be beaten into a fine foil so that just a little bit of pure gold will stretch a long way. Obviously, that's how Donne sees his love.
If they be two, they are two soAs stiff twin compasses are two;Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no showTo move, but doth, if the' other do. 28And though it in the centre sit,Yet when the other far doth roam,It leans, and hearkens after it,And grows erect, as that comes home. 32Such wilt thou be to me, who mustLike th' other foot, obliquely run;Thy firmness makes my circle just,And makes me end, where I begun 36
First, compasses are firm or "stiff." They do their job and don't flinch. Second, they are two separate pieces that are permanently joined together to accomplish great things.
Donne claims that his wife is like the center, "fix'd" foot of the compass that stays rooted while the other runs away. It remains right there, providing stability and certainty to the circle.
He shifts back to himself and applies the symbol of the other foot to himself. That's the part of the compass that leaves and traces the circle. At every point, he emphasizes that his wife (the center foot) is what is responsible for everything turning out right
Donne compares the depart from his loved one to death. However, in this instance, death is a peaceful and welcome thing.. Even though their parting will feel a little like a death, their love is so pure, powerful, and good that they can endure it gently, without any outward sorrow.
Really, this is about the leftover obsession from medieval days with alchemy, or the attempt to transform other metals into gold. Scientists (or pseudo-scientists) made some of the most important chemical discoveries in their unending quest to perform wizardry that would make them rich. A lot of the poetry of the time (and a lot of Donne's poems) deal with working with precious metals.
Stanza seven introduces a new metaphor, the comparison of their love to a compass. The two legs have been joined together permanently and without one, they are both useless. He furthers this example by explain what he means in terms of his wife, how one will not move without the other, showing she is completely faithful and supportive of him.
With this quote, Donne is comparing the moving the earth to being as dangerous and falling in love.
Donne is comparing love to the moon, and expressing how all love is physical and should not be detached.
Donne compares the type of lovers whose love does not solely depend on physical aspects. He believes this love is more true.