The poem "A Valediction: Of Weeping" was published two years after the poet’s death, and it was believed to be written as a dedication to his wife Anne. Some argue that the poem’s ambiguity and metaphysical contemplation speak against the claim that the poem stemmed from Donne’s own life and experiences, but the overall theme of parting of lovers and going on a life-threatening journey corresponds with the poet’s autobiographical information.
The poem was written in four equally structured stanzas. The speaker of the poem is an unfortunate lover who has to leave his loved one behind to go on a journey that could potentially cause his death. The parting is already painful enough but the speaker warns his loved one to not cry and mourn for him in advance, as it can be a bad omen. The poem is rich in metaphors and symbolic language. The poem’s theme on the surface is a theme of lovers’ grief, but it contemplates metaphysical themes of life and death.