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The Canonization Analysis



Author: poem of John Donne Type: poem Views: 46


For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five grey hairs, or ruin'd fortune flout,
With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,
Take you a course, get you a place,
Observe his Honour, or his Grace,
Or the King's real, or his stamped face
Contemplate, what you will, approve,
So you will let me love.

Alas, alas, who's injur'd by my love?
What merchant's ships have my sighs drown'd?
Who says my tears have overflow'd his ground?
When did my colds a forward spring remove?
When did the heats which my veins fill
Add one more to the plaguy bill?
Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
Litigious men, which quarrels move,
Though she and I do love.

Call us what you will, we are made such by love;
Call her one, me another fly,
We'are tapers too, and at our own cost die,
And we in us find the'eagle and the dove.
The phoenix riddle hath more wit
By us; we two being one, are it.
So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit,
We die and rise the same, and prove
Mysterious by this love.

We can die by it, if not live by love,
And if unfit for tombs and hearse
Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;
And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms;
As well a well-wrought urn becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs,
And by these hymns all shall approve
Us canoniz'd for love;

And thus invoke us: "You, whom reverend love
Made one another's hermitage;
You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove
Into the glasses of your eyes
(So made such mirrors, and such spies,
That they did all to you epitomize)
Countries, towns, courts: beg from above
A pattern of your love!"

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




.: :.

Here is a journal entry that I had written in reference to Donne's Canonization with a small commentary on holy sonnet #14. A bit of a different view, to that of which I had to "litigate" with my professor over! Please enjoy and comment, I'd love your comments. Gwenn
I AM THAT I AM
Is it true that we are merely mirror images of those around us? How therefore, can we judge or be judged? How might God judge? John Donne begs us to ask ourselves questions such as these. He pushes the imagination, and leaves his verses open to ones point of view, yet with passion that can be felt, as the words roll from your lips. His clever choice of words have depth and meaning; his message amazingly walks a straight and narrow path between that which may be blasphemous or downright candor, while reverberating a resounding balance between spirituality and religion. Two pieces by John Donne are used for examples to his genius; The Canonization and Holy Sonnet 14.
The Canonization speaks to the writer himself; a general audience; clergy; as well as; God. Donne’s word choice not only rhymes, but also has several meanings, or homonyms. This serves as an amazingly cryptic piece of literature. If one should take the time and review each words multiple interpretations, and have knowledge of the history and symbolism used in this era an astonishing compilation of multiple faceted stories unfold.
One of these gems is a story of man’s mortal and earthly struggles. In verse one it may be taken that he is speaking to himself to hold his tongue, as if not to speak of the issues he is about to; perhaps controversial for the time. He may also be speaking to clergy or any other general audience whom should mind their own business. He speaks of man’s earth bound sorrows, perhaps with his “five gray hairs”. He may be expressing his, trembling, or fear of God as he states “chide my palsy”. His gout may mean anything from something that is reoccurring or something spouting. Could he be referring to the cycle of life and death, or the words that spout from his lips? Verse one of the Canonization is enough to understand Donne’s complexities. In verse two, it seems he is litigating with himself, yet points out that he is not merely the only one at war, only, Donne’s battle is held in his heart, while soldiers and lawyers battle in fields and courtrooms. The plague was predominant during the time of Donne’s piece, so he uses this symbolism as a modern (for the time) message, and love and passion. Something as horrible as the plague can even be palatable under Donne’s creativity. He connects his personal sorrow and love to the same personal sorrow and love of those lives lost and tortured by the plague. Heat may be symbolic of passion; however, the time this piece was written, people were being burned alive for having the plague, or even if they were suspected to have the plague! “Colds a forward spring remove” may mean rebirth, resurrection, or perhaps the cold weather that wiped away many plague outbreaks. He knows one thing through all of this however, through all of this he has her love.
This love upon verse three blooms. They are made by and of love. They are “tapers too” too; or as well. They burn, but not from the fire of flames, but within; the fire of their souls, the phoenix. The eagle and the dove represent the all-seeing, and peace, however; in ancient cultures the dove is symbolic of the divine feminine, and the eagle the divine father energy. Biblical reference to this can be found in Revelations, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”; two beings as one—neutral. Perhaps Donne’s message is also a neutral and non-judgmental one, and this is what he is trying earnestly to portray.
Verse four also parallels dying on earth, or eternal life. A divine eternal life is through one’s soul, so cannot be entombed, or carried in a hearse. Those dying of the plague were also not fit for tomb or hearse, or, so it was thought; instead the bodies of those lost to the plague were buried on mass graves or “half-acre tombs”.
“Thus invoke us”, have mercy call to faith, and appeal for love. Verse five states. “you who reverend love”. Reverend, another multi-faceted word. “You whom reverend love made” Was this a reverend of the church, who unites two in marriage? Could it mean sacred love? Reverend may also be a general address. A Reflection of the same desires of those on earth, and those in heaven; begging for the same love and respect, this is a pattern that should be repeated.
John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14 follows the pattern of duality and the “I AM”, or Holy Trinity. He no longer uses the Phoenix, that was not a religious symbol, and this is one of his holy sonnets written after his acceptance into the church clergy. Still, however, this mortal man battles within himself, and becomes another paradox. He seems to plead for help from God for fear of straying, perhaps for the love of a woman? Does he feel that he must choose between the church and love? The church however is God’s temple, and God is love. He compares himself to a usurped town, defeated, thus surrenders? Is the town he refers to his body or is it to be literally the town that has been stricken with the plague? Donne’s sonnet is powerless acceptance of fate and fighting to have faith in God.
While some individuals may find Donne’s poetry blasphemous; it is certainly quite edgy for its time period. It truly walks a fine line, but because of his open-ended verse and word choice it cannot be incriminating. It is more incriminating to the individual reader’s point of view. Short, yet, so entertaining. A book condensed to a mere poem; and a sermon of love eternal.
Written By: Gwenn Wilmoth

| Posted on 2013-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

Here is a journal entry that I had written in reference to Donne's Canonization with a small commentary on holy sonnet #14. A bit of a different view, to that of which I had to "litigate" with my professor over! Please enjoy and comment, I'd love your comments. Gwenn
I AM THAT I AM
Is it true that we are merely mirror images of those around us? How therefore, can we judge or be judged? How might God judge? John Donne begs us to ask ourselves questions such as these. He pushes the imagination, and leaves his verses open to ones point of view, yet with passion that can be felt, as the words roll from your lips. His clever choice of words have depth and meaning; his message amazingly walks a straight and narrow path between that which may be blasphemous or downright candor, while reverberating a resounding balance between spirituality and religion. Two pieces by John Donne are used for examples to his genius; The Canonization and Holy Sonnet 14.
The Canonization speaks to the writer himself; a general audience; clergy; as well as; God. Donne’s word choice not only rhymes, but also has several meanings, or homonyms. This serves as an amazingly cryptic piece of literature. If one should take the time and review each words multiple interpretations, and have knowledge of the history and symbolism used in this era an astonishing compilation of multiple faceted stories unfold.
One of these gems is a story of man’s mortal and earthly struggles. In verse one it may be taken that he is speaking to himself to hold his tongue, as if not to speak of the issues he is about to; perhaps controversial for the time. He may also be speaking to clergy or any other general audience whom should mind their own business. He speaks of man’s earth bound sorrows, perhaps with his “five gray hairs”. He may be expressing his, trembling, or fear of God as he states “chide my palsy”. His gout may mean anything from something that is reoccurring or something spouting. Could he be referring to the cycle of life and death, or the words that spout from his lips? Verse one of the Canonization is enough to understand Donne’s complexities. In verse two, it seems he is litigating with himself, yet points out that he is not merely the only one at war, only, Donne’s battle is held in his heart, while soldiers and lawyers battle in fields and courtrooms. The plague was predominant during the time of Donne’s piece, so he uses this symbolism as a modern (for the time) message, and love and passion. Something as horrible as the plague can even be palatable under Donne’s creativity. He connects his personal sorrow and love to the same personal sorrow and love of those lives lost and tortured by the plague. Heat may be symbolic of passion; however, the time this piece was written, people were being burned alive for having the plague, or even if they were suspected to have the plague! “Colds a forward spring remove” may mean rebirth, resurrection, or perhaps the cold weather that wiped away many plague outbreaks. He knows one thing through all of this however, through all of this he has her love.
This love upon verse three blooms. They are made by and of love. They are “tapers too” too; or as well. They burn, but not from the fire of flames, but within; the fire of their souls, the phoenix. The eagle and the dove represent the all-seeing, and peace, however; in ancient cultures the dove is symbolic of the divine feminine, and the eagle the divine father energy. Biblical reference to this can be found in Revelations, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”; two beings as one—neutral. Perhaps Donne’s message is also a neutral and non-judgmental one, and this is what he is trying earnestly to portray.
Verse four also parallels dying on earth, or eternal life. A divine eternal life is through one’s soul, so cannot be entombed, or carried in a hearse. Those dying of the plague were also not fit for tomb or hearse, or, so it was thought; instead the bodies of those lost to the plague were buried on mass graves or “half-acre tombs”.
“Thus invoke us”, have mercy call to faith, and appeal for love. Verse five states. “you who reverend love”. Reverend, another multi-faceted word. “You whom reverend love made” Was this a reverend of the church, who unites two in marriage? Could it mean sacred love? Reverend may also be a general address. A Reflection of the same desires of those on earth, and those in heaven; begging for the same love and respect, this is a pattern that should be repeated.
John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14 follows the pattern of duality and the “I AM”, or Holy Trinity. He no longer uses the Phoenix, that was not a religious symbol, and this is one of his holy sonnets written after his acceptance into the church clergy. Still, however, this mortal man battles within himself, and becomes another paradox. He seems to plead for help from God for fear of straying, perhaps for the love of a woman? Does he feel that he must choose between the church and love? The church however is God’s temple, and God is love. He compares himself to a usurped town, defeated, thus surrenders? Is the town he refers to his body or is it to be literally the town that has been stricken with the plague? Donne’s sonnet is powerless acceptance of fate and fighting to have faith in God.
While some individuals may find Donne’s poetry blasphemous; it is certainly quite edgy for its time period. It truly walks a fine line, but because of his open-ended verse and word choice it cannot be incriminating. It is more incriminating to the individual reader’s point of view. Short, yet, so entertaining. A book condensed to a mere poem; and a sermon of love eternal.
Written By: Gwenn Wilmoth

| Posted on 2013-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

Thanks for sharing this helpful info on this forum. I love

| Posted on 2011-03-22 | by a guest


.: :.

Great analysis, only thing missing is that the 5 stanzas appear to reflect the five stages of canonisation (process to become a saint) The first stanza is an investigation of the subjects reputation, the second stanza is an inquiry into the subjects practice of heroic virtues, the third stanza is an investigation of alleged miracles, the fourth stanza is an examination of the subjects writings, and the fifth stanza appears to be an examination of the burial place and identification of the subjects remains, this just gives the poem a deeper meaning, I\'m sure there are more signs of this (perhaps in the rhyme scheme or structure).

| Posted on 2010-09-28 | by a guest


.: :.

Really good analysis below, escpecially with the symbolism and importance of the the phoenix, which i would never have highlighted with such an importance
> thank you :D

| Posted on 2010-05-28 | by a guest


.: :.

This is a paper I wrote for an english class explicating the poem.
John Donnes poem, Canonization, is a poem about love. The speaker is a sardonic, love-struck man addressing someone in opposition to his love. He is angry at first that anyone would attempt to get in the way of his love. His love has not harmed the audience nor has it, in any way harmed anyone. He cannot see any reason that anyone could be reasonably opposed to their love. He beseeches the audience to let him live. He does not care what others think of him so long as they let him love. As the poem shifts in tone he compares his love to the alchemical creation of the phoenix, but this phoenix is not brought life and destroyer by fire, rather by love. He demands that the love he shares shall is an apotheosis and that through it they shall be canonized. He finishes his dramatic monologue by telling how future generations will invoke them in the name of love. Through the use of the erotesis, one key metaphor and the antistrophe, Donne creates a complex puzzle of a poem that exemplifies the idea that love dominates all things.
The erotesis is used to emphasize the impact or lack thereof, that his love has had on the world. Who's injured by my love? /What merchant's ships have my sighs drown'd? / Who says my tears have overflow'd his ground? / When did my colds a forward spring remove? / When did the heats which my veins fill / Add one more to the plaguy bill? He is enraged that any should find fault with such a harmless thing. He lists examples of the going-ons of the world that have caused great harm to the people of the world. In this verse and the one previous to it he makes a pointed social commentary while still furthering the theme. How could someone be so opposed to his love when so many more destructive things are happening in the world. The speaker is angry, and rightfully so that anyone could be so petty as to concern himself with a lovers relationship when people are dying of plague, lands are flooding, and lives are lost in other ways. Ultimately, the speaker has justified his love in that it needs no justification. His love has hurt no one and to try to stop in would be petty and without reason.
The key metaphor is an alchemical allusion to the phoenix, The phoenix riddle hath more wit / By us ; we two being one, are it, the mythical bird was one of the necessary reagents in order to transmute a common metal to gold. The theory of its creation was that one must combine the two polar opposites of an eagle which embodied strength and power, and the dove which embodied peace and hope. In this way they are the key to the greatest miracle alchemists sought to complete and are the alchemical vision of perfection. Not only does this make them a powerful image of perfection and mythical powereven godlinessbut it also associates them with immortality and immunity to destruction. The phoenix cannot be killed, but rather, dies and is reborn in a never ending cycle.
In a literal sense they have become immune to a symbol of perfection but in a metaphorical sense this transformation goes much farther. They are permanently united and to divide is to kill them both. In their union they are together and it is said to one
neutral thing both sexes fit. This is important because it has made them more of a neutral entity, taken away some of the sexuality and purified their relationship. This purification takes them another step

| Posted on 2008-03-17 | by a guest




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