This text provides a critical analysis of The Good Morrow by John Donne. John Donne, the pioneering poet of the metaphysical school of poetry broke away from the Petrarchan tradition of love poetry by making it more realistic and humane. ‘The Good Morrow’ is his most celebrated love poem where he has shed light upon the strength, beauty and immortality of true love which can only be achieved when the body and soul are not divorced but in perfect harmony. The poem starts with the befuddlement of early morning consciousness which leads to spiritual awakening triggered by physical union.
Beginning of The Good Morrow Analysis
The love which the couple in the poem shares is so seraphic that it compels the poet to question all his past encounters with make-believe beauties which took place before he met his life partner. The poet first rejects them with passionate contempt with the usage of words such as ‘weaning’ and ‘snorting’ but the realization that his carnal past led to his ethereal present diffuses his disgust. His idea of beauty which was so far abstract has been concretized after falling in love. Love is shown as an experience that can actualize the abstract entity of human desire.
The second stanza opens in the manner of an aubade – “And now Good Morrow to our waking souls”. The physical act of waking up has been compared to spiritual awakening which the lovers experienced only because of their act of physical union in the preceding night. Thus Donne crumbles the binarization of physical and platonic by proving that the way to spiritual love is through the material fulfillment and not by dismissing the latter which is a very anti-Petrarchan thought.
After elevating post-coital love to the levels of heightened spirituality, ‘The Good Morrow’ talks about the unparalleled bliss which the lovers revel in. This love which arises out of perfect mutuality of feelings is very strong because it has overcome all fears, doubts and hesitations – “watch one another not out of fear”. Love is portrayed as an entity whose fundamentals rest in assurance and trust.
In the Good Morrow Analysis, the lovers are shown to enjoy a unique experience which blinds them to the world around them not because it is contemptible or a passionate threat but because the lovers are encapsulated in their “little room” which is their alternate universe and that rips the activities of the outer world of all its relevance. Donne’s love renders a totality of experience which conquers the vastness of physical space.
Good Morrow has a very modern approach to love as it is based on mutual surrender which does not demand the sacrifice of individuality or identity – “Let use possess one world, each hath one and is one”. By “true plain hearts” the poet wants to tell us that their love is authentic and rich but yet not intricate and complex. It is devoid of all extremes.
Towards the end of the analysis of The Good Morrow, Donne awards his love which the quintessence of the fifth element of nature as it is pure and not mixed by any selfish demands or intentions which makes it immortal – “whatever dies what not mixed equally”. Here true love is shown to have the power to counter the destructive effects of love.
‘The Good Morrow’ is considered as one among the most powerful love lyrics because of its unique treatment of love where mortal passion gives way to a divine experience which is achieved due to authenticity, mutuality and intensity of the bonds of true love. I hope you have found the analysis of Good Morrow helpful, these links will provide additional references which you may consider for an exhaustive study.