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A Valediction: Of Weeping Analysis

Author: poem of John Donne Type: poem Views: 31

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Let me pour forth

My tears before thy face, whilst I stay here,

For thy face coins them, and thy stamp they bear,

And by this mintage they are something worth,

For thus they be

Pregnant of thee;

Fruits of much grief they are, emblems of more;

When a tear falls that, thou falls which it bore,

So thou and I are nothing then, when on a divers shore.

On a round ball

A workman, that hath copies by, can lay

An Europe, Afrique, and an Asia,

And quickly make that, which was nothing, All;

So doth each tear,

Which thee doth wear,

A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,

Till thy tears mixed with mine do overflow

This world—by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolved so.

O more than moon,

Draw not up seas to drown me in thy sphere,

Weep me not dead, in thine armes, but forbear

To teach the sea what it may do too soon;

Let not the wind

Example find,

To do me more harm than it purposeth;

Since thou and I sigh one another's breath,

Who e'er sighs most is cruellest, and hastes the other's death.


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

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The speaker of this poem is a man or a woman saying good-bye to his or her romantic partner. It cannot always be inferred that the speaker is John Donne, even though he is the poet; although often he is the speaker. In the first line, he asks his partner to allow him to \"pour forth his tears\" or cry before her. In saying the next line, he is using metaphor to say that his tears are like money (coins) in which his lover\'s face, which reflects in them, is \"stamped\" and therefore her face gives his tears value, like money. \"For thus they be pregnant of thee\" reinforces the fact that she is being imprinted/stamped in his tears. He explains that his tears are \"fruits of much grief\" or results of his saddness, but also more in that since she is present in his tears, each time a tear falls their relationship falls also, until it is less and less.
The next stanza shifts gears into another metaphor common in Donne\'s poetry, that of a map. He explains how a catographer (mapmaker) creates a replica of the entire world by lying continents on a ball/globe that was originally simply a ball. Donne goes on to apply this metaphor to his relationship saying that each of his tears, although small, combined with his lover\'s tears, are enough to overflow the world. In this line, Dunne uses hyperbole (exaggeration)/overstatement because this cannot actually happen. The last line of the stanza implies that \"waters sent from thee\" or her tears, \"dissolve his heaven\" in that the lovers are parting and therefore his heaven, which was his relationship with her, is being destroyed.
In the next line, Donne mentions the moon, which pulls the current; another overstatement saying that the water produced from his lover\'s tears will drown him and, like the moon, pull the current to drown him in as well. He asks her not to kill him with her tears/sadness and to decline from \"teaching the sea\" to drown him; another metaphor telling her not to make his leave worse by her growing sadness. The last line in a way threatens the lover saying, \"if you kill me, because we are one and therefore breathe each other\'s breath, you, too, will die.\"
Basically, the tone of the poem is sorrowful in that neither lover wants to leave the other and Donne/the speaker is trying to tell his/her lover not to make the good-bye more painful by crying excessively.

| Posted on 2010-11-11 | by a guest

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The above is writing about "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." Totally different poem.

| Posted on 2009-12-07 | by a guest

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This is a "classic" Donne poem. In it, he shows off his vast knowledge of everything from alchemy to astronomy, and puts his most famous technique, the conceit, to great use. There is a rumor that this poem was written by Donne to his wife, before he went away on a long holiday with his friends, leaving her at home. It is impossible to prove, and doesn't really matter. I will, however, refer to the two characters in the poem as Donne and his wife in these comments.
Donne's basic argument was that most people's relationships are built on purely sensual things - if they are not together at all times, the relationship breaks down. Donne asserts that the love between him and his wife is different - it is not a purely sensual relationship, but something deeper, a "love of the mind" rather than a "love of the body". This love, he says, can endure even though sometimes the lovers cannot be close to each other at all times.
Donne uses some very evocative imagery in this poem. First of all, the parting of two lovers like Donne and his wife is likened to the death of a virtuous man. As a virtuous man dies, he knows that he has reconciled himself to God and will therefore be accepted into heaven. Thus he dies in peace and calm, and the people surrounding him at his deathbead are sad, but not anguished. In the same way, when two virtuous lovers part, there is no pain, because they know that each will be true to the other, even when they are apart. The people surrounding the dying man are quiet partly so as not to disturb him - in the same way, Donne says that too much outward show of emotion on the part of one lover would just disturb the other.
Donne is then very disparaging of the love of the rest of the population. The wails and screams and tears that "ordinary" lovers display when they must part is shown to be simply an act, with no real emotion in it.
The lovers are then likened to planetary bodies. In such a way, Donne places them above the "mortal earth". Unlike natural disasters, which are unpredictable and chaotic, the movement of the planets is peaceful and calm, even though the planets move much further.
Donne's most famous conceit is then introduced. The two lovers are likened to the two points of a compass. At first this seems ridiculous, but Donne shows how it makes sense. The idea of the wife staying and minding the house while the husband goes away is old-fashioned now, but we can still comprehend it. There is a lot more explanation of the "compass" conceit below.

| Posted on 2009-05-20 | by a guest

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