This piece sheds some light on the inner meaning of the Good Morrow which happens to be a difficult poem to grasp. “The Good Morrow” is a specially envisioned love poem by John Donne, the leading poet of the metaphysical school of thought. This poem shows unique manifestations of meta-physicality and establishes the emotional and spiritual greatness of true love. This poem’s anti-Petrarchan fusion of platonic and physical love along with its rich allusiveness and contemporary appeal makes it one of the best love lyrics penned in English Literature.
The Good Morrow Inner Meaning
The juxtaposition of the qualities of a metaphysical poem and a love poem is done with such precision and élan that the poem becomes a specimen of stylistic and thematic brilliance. The poet has used far-fetched hyperbolic metaphysical conceits as vehicles of his emotions. He has compared his past encounters with make-believe pleasures and beauties in such conceits to “snorting” in “the seven sleeper’s den” and “weaning” on “country’s pleasures childishly” to express his passionate contempt and rejection. In these conceits, two very disparate elements have been violently combined in a single matrix, “the ingenuity of which strikes us more than its justness” in words of Helen Gardener.
Meeting his beloved concertized the abstract entity of his human desires and united his physical love with its platonic counterpart. This crumbling of the binarization of physical and platonic led to a spiritual awakening – “And now Good Morrow to our waking souls”. This morrow would not have arrived without the lovers’ act of physical union in the preceding night which indicates that the way to spiritual love is through material fulfillment. Donne brings his past to a sub-ordinate relationship with his present to show that the Body and Soul are two faces of the same coin and need to work as an orchestrated unit for the experience of a love that is both complete and divine.
The Good Morrow Explanation
The allusiveness of the poem adds to its meta-physicality. The macro-cosmic spread of love and its totality of experience have been defined with the help of geographical discoveries of Drake, Magellan and Columbus. Donne draws a parallel from medieval alchemy by comparing the quintessence and immortality of love with the fifth element of nature. Such heterogeneity of references fills a reader with capacity of wonder.
Good Morrow is often considered to be in defiance with the Petrarchan trends of love poetry which upheld a very refined convention of love. Elizabethan poets like Wyatt, Surrey, and Spenser speak more of the pursuit of love and the angst caused by it as opposed to the fulfillment of heart’s desires. They portray the beloved as someone angelic and hence unattainable. On the contrary Donne has described his mistress as one made of flesh and blood with whom he has enjoyed satisfying moments of love.
This whole poem comes across as a dramatic progression of logical thoughts where Donne’s past present and eternal future have been linked together for a unique thematic development of love. His style is highly analytical which puts forward the “more analytical less verbal character of his wit” in words of Grierson. He has used colloquial down to earth language which adds a level of ruggedness to his poem.
“The Good Morrow” is a celebrated piece of poetry as it shows sharp intensification of Donne’s subjective beliefs and the objective validation of the same which is indeed a commendable effort. It is a poem that needs to be felt as much as understood as it appeals to the faculties of intellect as well as emotions in an equal way.
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