Sunday, November 7, 2010


This lyric was addressed by the poet to his wife Anne More when he had to take leave of her on the occasion of his undertaking a journey to a foreign country. It is brilliant and unconventional love-lyric which stands out in the entire love-poetry of Donne. It is written in a tripping metre. There, is a freshness and naturalness about this poem which is missing from the honeyed verses of the Elizabethan lyricists and song writers.

It is a singularly frank, realistic and sincere song of parting. The reason is obvious. There is a perfect equality of love between the lover-and the sweet-heart. The lover takes for granted his love for his beloved and vice versa. The artificial fears and sighs of the lover are after the fashion of the poet Petrarch. They are kept at bay because they are so cheap, boring and tiresome. Donne’s love-song expresses mutual human, love. Both the lover and his lady-love are grieved at the parting, but the lover being a mail and scholar can deduce some higher thoughts from even this experience, which soothe and calm both of them. Though it is a, simple love-song, there is the development of an intellectual design. The lover feels the sorrow of parting, and even grows some-what pessimistic in stanzas I and III. But abruptly he turns away from thoughts of death and pessimism and begins to dwell upon their mutual relationship. She must not grieve, for that would hurt him, since he is a part of her. In the last stanza sorrow is cast away, and the very idea of parting is dismissed as something irrelevant, since
They who one another keep
Alive, ne’er parted be.
Love triumphs over the idea of parting. The final stanza is a typical example of Donne’s habit to charge emotions with thought Deane is at his best when he allows fullest scope to love, so that it embraces both the body and the spirit.
The lyric contains two beautiful conceits in the last but one stanza, viz.
When thou sigh’st them sigh’st not wind,
But sigh’st my soul away;
When thou weep’st, unkindly kind,
My life’s blood doth decay.

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