Discuss John Donne as a poet of love.
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Donne equates physical love and spiritual love in many of his works. To this end, Donne often suggests that the love he has for a particular beloved in a particular poem is superior to that of others’ loves. In Donne, loving someone is as much a religious experience as a physical one. His love transcends mere physicality, and thus it is of a higher order than that of more mundane lovers. In “Love’s Infiniteness,” for example, Donne begins with a traditional-sounding love poem, but by the third stanza the lover has transformed the love between himself and his beloved into an abstract ideal which can be possessed absolutely and completely. In Donne, physical union and religious ecstasy are either identical or analogous. His later poetry (following his joining the ministry) maintains some of his carnal playfulness from earlier poetry, but transforms it into a celebration of union between soul and soul, or soul and God.