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Cannonization , The Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Donne Type: Poetry Views: 2220

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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 ph{oe}nix 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 |||

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The speaker asks his addressee to be quiet, and let him love. If the addressee cannot hold his tongue, the speaker tells him to criticize him for other shortcomings (other than his tendency to love): his palsy, his gout, his "five grey hairs," or his ruined fortune. He admonishes the addressee to look to his own mind and his own wealth and to think of his position and copy the other nobles ("Observe his Honour, or his Grace, / Or the King's real, or his stamped face / Contemplate.") The speaker does not care what the addressee says or does, as long as he lets him love.
The speaker asks rhetorically, "Who's injured by my love?" He says that his sighs have not drowned ships, his tears have not flooded land, his colds have not chilled spring, and the heat of his veins has not added to the list of those killed by the plague. Soldiers still find wars and lawyers still find litigious men, regardless of the emotions of the speaker and his lover.
The speaker tells his addressee to "Call us what you will," for it is love that makes them so. He says that the addressee can "Call her one, me another fly," and that they are also like candles ("tapers"), which burn by feeding upon their own selves ("and at our own cost die"). In each other, the lovers find the eagle and the dove, and together ("we two being one") they illuminate the riddle of the phoenix, for they "die and rise the same," just as the phoenix does--though unlike the phoenix, it is love that slays and resurrects them.
He says that they can die by love if they are not able to live by it, and if their legend is not fit "for tombs and hearse," it will be fit for poetry, and "We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms." A well-wrought urn does as much justice to a dead man's ashes as does a gigantic tomb; and by the same token, the poems about the speaker and his lover will cause them to be "canonized," admitted to the sainthood of love. All those who hear their story will invoke the lovers, saying that countries, towns, and courts "beg from above / A pattern of your love!"

| Posted on 2008-05-13 | by a guest

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