John Donne: Poems

Donne's "A Valediction of Weeping"

“A Valediction of Weeping” embodies John Donne’s ability to unite form and content in the beauty and intricacy of his metaphysical conceits. By closely interpreting these conceits, or complex extended metaphors, the reader is able to appreciate and understand many underlying themes of sorrow and consolation within the lovers’ parting. The word “valediction” means to bid farewell, whereas the word “of” adds an ambiguity to the meaning of the title. While this could be literally translated as “a tearful goodbye”, the “of” also suggests that the lovers in this poem are attempting to bid farewell to the act of weeping. This lyrical poem serves as a passionate expression between lovers separating for a period of time as the nautical imagery suggests that the speaker is embarking on a voyage. Donne structures the farewell essentially by exploring the intensity of their relationship and the means in which the speaker attempts to comfort his lover. The multiple meanings behind his metaphors, use of spherical imagery, and varied versification all contribute to the overall complexity of the lovers’ farewell.

The structure of complex extended metaphors Donne utilizes is reflective of the lyric itself. The content of the poem is...

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