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Computation , The Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Donne Type: Poetry Views: 1004

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For the first twenty years since yesterday

I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away;

For forty more I fed on favors past,

And forty on hopes that thou wouldst they might last.

Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,

A thousand, I did neither think nor do,

Or not divide, all being one thought of you,

Or in a thousand more forgot that too.

Yet call not this long life, but think that I

Am, by being dead, immortal. Can ghosts die?










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

.: :.

thanx my dear waston its really helpful writing ... i wanna thank you for writing it down , but i have a question ??
i know that\'s she leaved him and she is not died ?? so pleas if any one can help me to find out >> ??? is she dead or she left hem and , that she left him for only 24 hours ???
and i wanna know ??
this woman ... is she his wife ?? or she is his girlfriend ???
thank you all ^_^
wish you all a nice day ...
xxx Amani hanoun

| Posted on 2011-10-04 | by a guest


.: :.

She's only been gone 24 hours, the poem is a math equation.

| Posted on 2010-02-17 | by a guest


.: one point more :.

The woman is not dead. She has chosen to go away. We see this in that he spends "forty [years] on hopes that thou wouldst they might last." He wishes that she "wouldst," which suggests she has made a choice. If she wouldst, then she would will the action.

| Posted on 2007-10-24 | by a guest


.: one point more :.

The woman is not dead. She has chosen to go away. We see this in that he spends "forty [years] on hopes that thou wouldst they might last." He wishes that she "wouldst," which suggests she has made a choice. If she wouldst, then she would will the action.

| Posted on 2007-10-24 | by a guest


.: :.

Actually, it adds up to 2400 years, not 2000, which draws a parallel to the 24 hours in a day. It could be interpreted as he has only been separated from his love for one day, but he is using hyperbolic claims to suggest how long time seems to him without his love.

| Posted on 2007-05-19 | by a guest


.: thanks kip!!! :.

thank you sooooooo much kip. i am studying for an academic superbowl and this was one of the poems that we needed to study. i had no clue wat it meant so i was really happy when i saw that u had posted this for the poem. it helped me a lot. and now i have a lot better of an understanding for the poem. thanks again!!!

| Posted on 2007-04-27 | by a guest


.: Poor John Donne :.

What a painful and beautiful poem.

"For my first twenty years, since yesterday"

You poor man, twenty years after your wife's death, the pain is still fresh.

"For forty more I fed on favours past,
And forty more on hopes that thou wouldst they might last"

'Would' in Elizabethan English means something like 'would wish' or 'would hope'. Forty years of living in the happy memories, then another forty in the hope that he had made her happy while she lived. How kind he must have been.

"...Or not divide, all being one thought of you;
Or in a thosand more, forgot that too"

Poor man, so depressed, lost in his grief. His ony thoughts are of his wife. Or finally just completely desolate, barely thinking at all, as really depressed people are. (this is so authentic, clearly an honest first hand account of what we in our clinical modern way would call deep depression)

"Yet call this not long life; but think that I
Am, by being dead, immortal; can ghosts die?"

A sweetly sad ending. He can't bear to tell us of his grief, so he makes a wry joke of it -- not even that funny, how could it be? Of course he hasn't lived 2000 years, his sadness has just felt that long. But what a sad punch line to the joke -- he hasn't lived 2000 years, he has been dead 2000 years, with his beloved gone joy is gone, life is like death, dead inside, dead to the world.

And yet, in that last couplet, a tiny suggestion of hope, delicately emphasised by the slight touch of humour. The words 'immortality' and 'ghost', both with a Christian meaning -- ghost (as in 'Holy Ghost') in Elizabethan English also having the meaning of spirit. So there is just the faintest allusion (within the context of his other poems) of his faith in eternal life and reunion with his beloved.

The music of the words is delightful. Delicate like a little painted miniature. Simple and almost childlike, with few words of more than two syllables: 'yesterday', then 'immortal', that one jumps out at you, subtly emphasising again the Christian hope (his audience would have been attuned to these references, so they only needed to be very subtle).

Childlike also with it's little counting game. This has a touch of the 'sing song' about it, and reminds me a little of Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet. Grief drives people mad, because madness is a refuge when reality is more than you can bear. But the counting game is then brushed aside in the last couplet, which contains that little joke, but also the poems most serious thoughts, delivered rapier swift.

Imagine this poem read to an audience, and this change in tone would become much more distinct. The last couplet fades, and it takes many seconds for its inner depths to sink in, even for Donne's sophisticated audience. There is a hush, one of the ladies dabs away a tear.

A beautiful and heartfelt poem. So simple. So honest, authentic and sincere. So very very sad. And yet not self pitying, but thoughtful, with a slight touch of humour, even a little philosophical, and with an expression of hope for others who might be grieving.

Good old John Donne, you really are one of the greatest poets of all.

I hope this helps someone...

Kip Watson



| Posted on 2006-07-27 | by Approved Guest




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