John Donne: Poems

Analysis of the Poems of John Donne College

               In Donne’s metaphysical love poem, ‘A Valediction: Of Weeping’, the central notion is that of spheres and cycles. This corroborates with Parfitt’s assertion that in Donne’s lyric world stasis is rare’[1], which is expressed in ‘A Valediction’ through a constant sequence of creation and destruction, and a corresponding tension between reality and representation. The form and structure of the poem is mimetic of these cycles, as well as acting in a meta fictional manner, revealing a self-awareness of the poetic voice of the artificial nature of poetry.               

Donne’s use of the spherical motifs of coins, tears, pregnancy and the globe contribute to the conceits used in each stanza. The first metaphor is financial, of tears as coins: ‘Let me pour forth My tears before thy face, whilst I stay here, For thy face coins them, and the stamp they bear, And by this mintage they are something worth’ (‘A Valediction’, 1.1-4) The metaphor introduces the reflection dynamic that is present throughout...

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