John Donne: Poems

Consolation and Reassurance in 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' and 'A Valediction of Weeping.' College

John Donne's 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' opens with an acknowledgement of 'virtuous men' passing away. The concept of death, as grounded in the first line, is an extremely striking way to begin a poem. This striking opening is a typical feature of metaphysical poetry. Usually this directness to the subject of death would seem startling, however, by using gentle lexis such as 'mildly,' 'whisper,' and 'breath,' the reader is immediately put at ease. The word 'breath', in particular suggests a peaceful passing due to the subtle 'th' phonology which creates a soothing and reassuring effect.

The poetic voice does not want to disrespect or ruin the love that exists between himself and his lover, so states that 'noise' and 'tear-floods' are not allowed. The refusal to show emotion may be suggestive of his confidence in their love as he believes that it will be painless for them to part. However, it could also suggest the poetic voice is in denial about parting from his lover and is trying to convince himself that it will have no effect on either of them. The third stanza effectively displays the strength that exists between the two lovers, using imagery of 'Moving of th'earth' and 'trepidation of the spheres.' As an opening...

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