John Donne: A Love Poet as Seen in ‘The Good Morrow’

This text basically illustrates John Donne as a powerful love poet in reference to the poem The Good Morrow. ” The Good Morrow” is a celebrated love lyric which sheds light upon the credibility of John Donne as a unique love poet. Donne’s development of the theme of love with the help of a tri-partite logical progression of thought and metaphysical wit, his establishment of a relationship between the body and the soul, description of the strength and immortality of such true love, awards Good Morrow a very high place among some of the best love lyrics penned in English Literature.

Breaking away from the Petrarchan trends of love poetry, Donne crumbled the binarization of physical and Platonic love by taking a post-coital love to the levels of heightened spirituality.

John Donne as a Love Poet

By comparing his carnal past with his ethereal present along with the glimpse of a promising future that stretches till eternity, he proved by the dint of his analytical and argumentative credibility as a poet that the way to spiritual love is through material fulfillment and not by dismissing the latter. He writes that his past which comprised of encounters with make-believe beauties was like “snorting” in “the seven sleeper’s den” but his relationship with his beloved in the present has unified his physical love with its philosophical counterpart leading to a spiritual awakening – “And now good morrow to our waking souls”. Thus we notice a queer blend of passion and logical reasoning in the thematic development of love in the poem which adds a level of uniqueness to Donne’s excellence as a love poet.

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Donne has clothed Good Morrow with some very extraordinary conceits and used them a vehicle to carry his love-born emotions to the readers.

In a metaphysical conceit, he has compared the transfiguring effect of love and its macrocosmic spread with the discoveries of Drake, Magellan and Columbus – “Let sea discoverers to new worlds have gone”. The lover’s “little room” has been equated with an alternate universe to shed light upon the totality of experience forwarded by true love. In these conceits he has shown great uniqueness in violently fusing two very disparate elements in a single matrix whose “ingenuity strikes more than its justness” in the words of Helen Gardener. His allusiveness based on the parallels drawn from different areas of learning such as Geography, Mythology, Astronomy, Medieval Alchemy and so on is a novel addition to this love poem which fills the readers with a capacity for wonder. His colloquial down to earth language is also a unique feature.[divider_flat]

The concept of love presented by Good Morrow is one of a kind. He envisioned love as a power based on trust and assurance which was so fulfilling that it concretized the abstract entity of human desire and had the capability of blinding the lovers to the world around them by ripping the things of utmost importance such as sea-discoveries of all its relevance. Donne has awarded such heterosexual secular love the quintessence of the fifth element and in doing so he has vested love with the powers of immortality.  Donne opined that true love could surmount the effects of death. Donne’s intensity of emotions and novelty of thought indicates his distinctiveness as a love poet.

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Donne is remembered as one of the finest love poets whose volume of poems called “Songs and Sonnets” has proven his unique brilliance as a love poet. “The Good Morrow” is his revered love poem as it showcases his unparalleled talent which is manifested through his thematic and stylistic innovativeness.

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