Elucidating Donne’s Comparison
Comparing love is insurmountable but Donne’s comparison is ever memorable through his poem “Valediction: Forbidden Mourning”. Attempt made here is very obviously written to elucidate how his poem remains immortal.
“A Valediction- Forbidden Mourning”, John Donne
“A Valediction- Forbidden Mourning” is a beautiful love poem. The title appears to reflect the content of the piece- a farewell. The poem is written in traditional conge d’ amour, a consolation upon a short separation of lovers.
The poem begins with an image of men, passing away. The separation of body and soul is gentle that friends surrounding the dying and dead one is unable to tell if they are alive or dead. The poem reads that lovers should depart without noise for fear of revealing the quality of the love to the ignorant. That is the first reason to forbid mourning.
Comparative and Contrasting Metaphor
When there is an earthquake, small cracks form in the ground. People regard that as ominous, but when planets move apart, though the distance is great. People view that as harmless. The poet uses earthquake as a metaphor for the separation of lovers.
Similar to earthquakes, lovers fear separation because of their composition of sensory and sensual perception. However, lovers who are spiritually and physically in love are less troubled by separation. Like the separation of planets, their souls remain one until their bodies are united. Another metaphor is given to reinforce that idea: the separation of lovers is similar to gold stretching thin but not breaking.
Interconnectedness Between Lovers
Although lovers retain their souls, they are divided into two parts, similar to that of a compass. The compass is linked at the top and works in unison. When the compass draws a cicle, one point remains fixed, which ensures the other would complete the circle. Similar to a compass, if one of the lovers remains at home, that one should ensure the return home with success.
In this poem, the poet has used a lot of images and devices to express his idea about parting lovers. However, each of those themes of death, celestial motion and twin compasses has the common denominator of reunion, resurrection and permanence.
“Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. Vol I.
e.k chambers, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 51-52.