“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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Forbidding Mourning by John Donne: Donne’s separation from his wife at this time provided him the occasion for writing “A Valediction: Summary and Analysis A very well-known poem, A Valediction: A mature relationship requires strength too.

He was finally ordained in early and quickly became one of the most respected clergymen of his time. Works by John Donne. Faith and some of its more important activities, such as confession and prayer, are highly intimate acts; faith itself is also an internal process, and the truly pious are not always obvious about the depth of their beliefs.

He offers his wife an alternative to thinking about their souls as one and the same.

The grieving friends do not know that the dying man is unafraid and tranquil about death, nor do they know if he has yet died. Summary, Stanza 7 Anne, you and I are like the pointed legs of a compass pictured at right in a photograph provided courtesy of Wikipediaused to draw circles and arcs. The kind of compass to which Donne is referring here is the two-legged device used for drawing circles and, appropriately ,ourning this poem, for measuring distances on a map.


A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

This first stanza describes how virtuous men die. The allusion to the circle signifies that the lovers will be together forever in perfect love. 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.

He also uses science to the spheres, meaning the Ptolemaic spheres in which the celestial bodies moved. The legs operate in unison. After leaving Oxford, he studied law in London and received his degree in DiPasquale notes the use of “refined” as a continuation of an alchemical theme set in the earlier stanzas, with the phrase “so much refined” ambiguous as to whether it is modifying “love”, or the couple themselves are being refined by the love they share.

Forbidding Mourning” is a lyric poem. Donne therefore uses a simile that works emotionally, since gold is valuable, but also scientifically, since johm malleability of gold corresponds to ofrbidding flexibility and expansiveness of their love.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning |

The beginning of the poem causes some readers difficulty because the first two stanzas consist of a metaphysical conceit, but we do not know that until the second stanza. James I ruled England from to Summary, Stanza 9 One pointed leg, yours, remains fixed at the center. Even though Donne wrote of a deep love that transcends physical proximity, he did believe in the physical side of romance. The center leg remains still, but leans toward the moving leg, and when the outside leg is brought back in to the center, they both stand up straight again.


In he published his first work, Pseudo-Martyrwhich attempted to induce English Catholics to repudiate their allegiance to Rome home of the Catholic Church and take an oath of allegiance to the British crown.

This supports his claim that their love will expand to fill the space between them.

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

The tearful parting may be disrespectful to their true love. Reprinted in Selected Essays, Harcourt Brace, In the spiritual terms of the compass conceit her firmness enables him to complete his circle, or journey; in sexual terms, his firmness would make her circle just. In this final stanza, Donne forbiddiing have included additional sexual puns to underscore the happy future reunion of the lovers.

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This poem creates a contrast between the common love of the general people and the unique love of the speaker. What is meant to prevent her “mourning” is not her possession of his name or book or heart or soul. The indirect parallel is that the inner trembling that the lovers feel at the prospect of being mounring is powerful yet causes no real harm.

Rudnytsky notes the “imagery of extraordinary complexity” foridding this stanza. The stronger, she will be at the time of separation, the more his work will be fruitful.