John Donne: Poems

A Pattern of Love’s Canonization

In “The Canonization,” John Donne seems to set his love apart from politics, wealth, the court life, and earthly life in general in order to align it with sanctity. He also utilizes his wit to mock commonly accepted poetic conventions, only to replace them with his own. He creates a pattern of placing love in context of birth, death, resurrection, and homage, which leads to the speaker exploring the possibility of a fantastic, metaphorical canonization into the sainthood of lovers.

“The Canonization” consists of five stanzas with nine lines apiece. Each stanza serves to gradually heighten the position of the speaker’s love until it reaches a canonized bliss. The rhyme scheme is abbacccd, every stanza ending with the word, “love.” This is a deliberate demonstration of how the love transcends each previous position and is transformed every time it is mentioned.

As a metaphysical poet, Donne uses peculiar, extravagant metaphors to display his intensity and wit, such as “We’ll build in sonnets pretty rooms” (32). In the beginning stanza, the speaker is addressing an anonymous cynic of love, and particularly of the speaker’s love affair. It seems that the addressee is chiding how intensely the speaker has fallen. The lover urges...

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