“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” is a metaphysical poem by John Donne. Written in or for his wife Anne before he left on a trip to Continental. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Learning Guide by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley. 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,” / So.

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Thus, Donne says, though he valedicton his wife are separated, like the legs of the compass, they remain united because they are part of the same soul. Such spiritual love is transcendent, metaphysical, keeping the lovers together intellectually and spiritually even though the circumstances of everyday life may separate their bodies.

This forbiddin Donne the attention and favor of James I, who believed Donne would be a strong addition to his church. So, Donne continues, he and his wife should let their physical bond “melt” when johm part line 5. The first two stanzas argue that the speaker and his love should separate quietly—as quietly as righteous men go to their deaths—because their love is sacred and should not be profaned by public emotional displays.

His work marked a turn in scientific method: The Metaphysical Poets are known for their ability to startle the reader and coax new perspective through paradoxical images, subtle argument, inventive syntax, and imagery from art, philosophy, and religion using an extended vlaediction known as a conceit.

Summary, Stanza 10 Donne continues the metaphor begun in Stanza 7, in which he compares himself and his wife to the legs of a compass.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne: Summary and Analysis

Donne urges his wife to remain silent about their love, especially at this particular moment of his departure. Donne also uses alliteration extensively. He likens himself and his wife to the two feet of a mathematical compass.

While others may fear death, the truly pious will journey to the hereafter with quiet resignation forbideing even a bit of optimism. Rudnytsky notes the “imagery of extraordinary complexity” in this stanza. The speaker justifies the desirability of such calmness by developing the ways in which the two share a holy love, both sexual and spiritual in nature.


Leave this field blank. In fact, a virtuous man allows his soul to depart so quietly that the friends gathered around the bed disagree over whether the man mournig actually died.

It is important to recognize that Donne employs his metaphysical wit to develop not just one but a series of arguments to console his wife on the eve of his departure.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning – Wikipedia

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Text and Galediction Meaning. But when the other pointed leg, mine, moves in a circle or an arc, your leg also turns even though the point of it remains fixed at the center of my circle.

A mature relationship requires strength too. Each foot, or pair of syllables, consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

Donne entered the world during a period morning theological and political unrest for both England and France; a Protestant massacre occurred on Saint Bartholomew’s forbkdding in Jonn while in England, the Catholics were the persecuted minority. The title says, in essence, “When we part, we valedicton not mourn. Theresa is overwhelmed with ecstasy because of her devotion to her lord. In these stanzas, Donne compares the parting of two lovers to a death, desiring the lovers’ parting to be quiet, without struggle, and voluntary even though it is inevitable.

Such an earthly love is made only of physical elements and when any of these elements are absent, that love is in danger. The comparison is indirect because the poet does not allude to the lovers at all in this stanza. Ramie Targoff argues that this is not because he sees the separation of the lovers as permanent, like death, but that as with death Donne finds the challenge with separation to be ensuring the relationship’s continuity in the future.


However, Donne says, they remain united spiritually and intellectually because their souls are one.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning |

In both images, the persons experiencing the events possess understanding that outsiders do not. Donne continues the metaphor begun in Stanza 7, in which he compares himself and his wife to the legs of a compass. Hulme Conversion by T.

Summary, Stanza 2 Well, Anne, because I will be in France and other countries for a time while you remain home in England, we must accept our separation in the same way mourrning virtuous dying men quietly accept the separation of their souls from their bodies.

But because Donne and his wife have a spiritual as well as physical dimension to their love, they will never really be apart, he says.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

In the opening of the poem, the speaker, in a dramatic situation, addresses his beloved not to make their separation time the occasion of mourning and wailing. And finally, if these first two arguments are unsatisfying, Donne argues that he and his wife, though separate, function like the legs of a compass.

Donne was born in London in This famous and ingenious use of the compass as a conceit is exceptional. InJames I pressured him to enter the Anglican Ministry by declaring that Donne could not be employed outside of the Church.

To His Mistress going to Bed. He separates his love from others in a way that their love does not whine and show any fear of separation when they part from each other because they are not only connected in terms of physicality but in souls. But Donne argues that his love is not dependent vapediction such mournihg.

This stanza contrasts dramatic upheavals on earth with those in heaven. The first two lines of the second stanza demonstrate this metric pattern: