John Donne: Poems

An Analysis of "The Canonization" by John Donne 10th Grade

The poem 'Canonization' by John Donne, with its witty analogies and inventive use of conceits, exemplifies metaphysical poetry. The poem begins abruptly in typical Donne fashion. The speaker is addressing someone who seems to disapprove of his love. He asks the addressee to keep quiet or chide him for his other shortcomings like his palsy, gout, greying hair or his ruined fortune. Then he talks about things the society deems important and tells the addressee to work on obtaining them instead of criticizing the speaker. The addressee is asked to work on improving is own state or mind by wealth or arts; to take a course or enter a profession; or to preoccupy himself with gaining favour with the nobility or chasing money. It is implied that these things hold no value for the speaker and that there is something inherently wrong with the society which encourages greed, sycophancy and cupidity but faults him for his love.

In the second stanza, the poet parodies contemporary Petrarchan notions of love and places them in stark contrast with the ugly realities of the world. He asks rhetorically, “who’s injured by my love?” The torments of love experienced by the speaker, his sighs, tears, colds and passion, do not harm anyone...

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