Theme of The Good Morrow by John Donne
This article focuses on the theme of The Good Morrow by John Donne and is specially written keeping in mind the students of English Literature and those who are in their high schools. Before going through the theme of “The Good Morrow” we recommend you read the analysis and a few answers. Click of the individual links.
“The Good Morrow” is a specially envisioned love poem which is celebrated by modern readers because of its contemporary take on love. Before going through the critical analysis of Good Morrow, it needs to be understood that Love has been defined here as a state of eternal bliss where the body and the soul are not divorced but work as a single orchestrated unit to offer a divine experience to the lovers. Donne has developed this theme by a blend of dramatic progression of thoughts and intensity of feelings. The poem emphasizes upon a spiritual awakening after the lovers wake up from their carnal past which awards “The Good Morrow” with titular justification.
The thematological exploration of the main body of the poem brings to our notice its trio-partite structure where the first part sheds light upon the past of the lovers which was riddled by their encounters with make-believe beauties. The lovers indulged in these meaningless liaisons to make up for the absence of a true love which concertize every abstract entity of human desire. Donne has compared that past to “snorting” in “seven sleeper’s den” and “weaning” on “country’s pleasures childishly” in two separate metaphysical conceits to express his passionate contempt and rejection. The poet’s disgust however diffuses when he realizes that his carnal past led to his divine present which paves way for the second element of the theme.
The theme for the second part of Good Morrow begins in the manner of a traditional aubade – “And now good morrow to our waking souls” where the physical act of waking up has been compared to a spiritual awakening. This is where the title of the poem is viewed in an intricate relationship with the theme. “Good Morrow” refers to the lovers’ acknowledgement of their divine present where the binarization of platonic and physical has crumbled to give a totality of experience that blinds the lovers to the world around as they are completely encapsulated in their “little room”. It is worth noticing here that the “morrow” would not have arrived without the lovers’ act of physical union in the preceding night which establishes that the way to spiritual love is through material fulfillment and not by dismissing the latter. It is this union of sexual and philosophical love as a unified sensibility which is important for a “Good morrow” in the lives of the lovers. The relationship which the poet shares with his beloved is based on the fundamentals of assurance and trust. There is perfect mutuality between the lovers but this mutuality never infringes their individuality – “Each hath one and is one”
The third part of the poem gives us a glimpse of the lovers’ futures which the poet believes will stretch till eternity. This is because he has awarded their love the quintessence of the fifth element of nature owing to its purity. This purity has vested the poet’s love with the powers of immortality such that it can counter and surmount all the destructive effects of death.
Thus we see that by establishing a link between the past, present and the future of the lovers, Donne has succeeded in developing the theme of the spiritual and emotional greatness of a perfectly passionate secular love. The title suggests that a spiritual awakening in love that has been triggered by physical union is responsible for the quintessence of true love.
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