Summary of The Good Morrow by John Donne: 2022

The Good Morrow by John Donne is considered to be one of the best poems belonging to the metaphysical school of poetry. This poem is an aubade or poem of the morning, in the poet’s words, to his beloved after a  satisfying night of lovemaking. This will help the readers unravel the beautiful meaning behind the complex metaphysical conceit in this poem and once that barrier is done away with; this poem will come across as one of the most powerful love poetry of all times. I hope you’ll enjoy going through the Good Morrow summary by John Donne. Links for the good morrow analysis, theme, question&answer are provided at the end of the summary.

The Good Morrow Summary with Text:

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved; were we not weaned till then,
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
At the beginning of the Good morrow, the poet asks his beloved how they used to spend their lives before they had met each other. With his beloved in arms, the poet realizes how empty his life was before. He considers that phase of their lives to be as meaningless as the ones spent in slumber by the seven sleepers of Ephesus in the den when they were trying to escape the wrath of the tyrant Emperor Decius. Being without his beloved was as insignificant as those years which the seven sleepers had spent sleeping. It means that those years bore no importance in his life anymore. During those days when he was yet to discover true love, he would make up for that emptiness by indulging in other pleasures of life but now after understanding the meaning of love he realizes that those pleasures were very artificial. Now it seems to the poet as if he was a small child during those days who was being weaned on these materialistic pleasures of the world in the absence of true love which was like mother’s milk to that child. During those days all objects of beauty that he came across were nothing but her beloved’s reflection. To the poet, her beloved was like a beautiful dream which was turned into reality. In the good morrow summary, it is worth mentioning that through false pleasures the poet might be indicating towards his various liaisons with other women which were just a reflection of the beauty which his true lover filled him with.
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere.
Let sea discoveries to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess our world; each hath one and is one.
In the second stanza of “The Good Morrow summary” the poet sheds light upon the bliss which envelops the lovers. He says that their souls rise in the light of the new morning of love in their lives. Their hearts are devoid of any kind of fear of commitment, misunderstanding or losing the one they love. Their presence in each other’s life means so much to them that nothing catches their attention anymore. Donne proposes his loved one to turn their tiny room in which they make love into their only world. This is a complex metaphor for finding a microcosm in the macrocosm of nature, which is potent enough to satisfy all needs of the both. He says that he does not care about how much the sea discoverers expand the boundaries of the world with their discoveries. During those times when maritime discoveries were given utmost importance, the new inclusions to the map of the world meant nothing to the poet since his world only comprised of his beloved and him.  Their respective worlds have now been fused into one. This drawing of an intellectual parallel from astronomy and geography strengthens the metaphysics of the poem.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp North, without declining West?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one; or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

Next, the poet talks about the unique beauty of the love which he and his beloved share. Donne says that that sometimes he and his beloved stare into each other’s eyes so longingly that they can see their faces in the other’s eyes. This refection of faces in the eyes reveals the true hearts of the lovers. Their hearts are true and spotless in love. This means that their love for each other enables the lovers to get rid of all their bad traits and harsh feelings towards the world which helps them become better people. The poet further adds that unlike the world which is divided into hemispheres, their world of love knows no boundaries. It does not have a sharp cold northern hemisphere. Nor does it have a western hemisphere which has to bid farewell to the sun. By drawing this reference to Geography again, the poet tries to give us an insight into the unparalleled bliss of his world of love where it is always warm and sunny.

The Good Morrow summary will help the readers in understanding the link which Donne draws from medieval alchemy towards the end of the poem to explain the immortality of the love which he shares with his beloved. The poet says to his loved one that their love is indestructible since it is pure. It is the hardest to relax the bonds of pure substances. The mixing of two things causes impurity which threatens the longevity of substances. The lovers do not feel this threat since their love is not mixed with any selfish demands or intentions of any kind and is perfectly pure. With such a strong bond of love between them, the poet is convinced that nothing can ever decrease or stop the stream of love which flows between his beloved and him. We recommend you to skim through the following links to have a better idea of the poem “The Good Morrow””
Analysis of The  Good Morrow:
Theme of The Good Morrow:
Inner Meaning of The Good Morrow Poem:
The Good Morrow Analyzed as a Metaphysical poem:
The Good Morrow Analyzed as a Love Poem:
“Thus through “The Good morrow” we see that love is capable of elevating a person to new heights from where he views his love and the world around him in a different light. Hope, you’ve loved going through the summary of Good Morrow and would like to read some more notes on the same.
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Keywords – the good morrow summary (2.9), good morrow summary (3.0)

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  1. not super helpful. need literary methods, this just retyped out the poem in different words

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