"A Valediction Forbidding Mourning."

John Donne wrote “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” in 1611 as he was preparing for one of his frequent journeys away from his wife, Ann. Donne’s deep love for his wife is evident in the poem, which explains that the couple should not be sorrowful when they are apart from each other because their love binds them together, regardless of distance.

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A valediction forbidding mourning thesis

A valediction is a speech or a poem of farewell, one that often carries with it some sense of foreboding or uncertainty about the events to come. Although the title “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” might seem to suggest a dark, brooding theme, John Donne’s poem is actually a love poem, and as such it is a fine example of sixteenth-century Metaphysical wit. The Metaphysical school of poets (whose members included Donne, George Herbert,

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As a Metaphysical poet, Donne expressed love in a particular way. Many of the characteristics typical of Metaphysical poetry are found in “A Vale-diction: Forbidding Mourning.” These include intellectual descriptions of emotions; unusual and often startling comparisons; a preoccupation with love, death, and religion; simple diction; images taken from everyday life; and the formulation of an argument.

A valediction forbidding mourning thesis

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Later, Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) invented the mathematical compass (which figures centrally in Donne’s “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”) and built a telescope of twenty-times magnification that allowed him to view mountains and craters on the moon. His work marked a turn in scientific method: precise measurement would begin to prevail over popular belief. Galileo’s work was done at almost the same time as that of Johanes Kepler (1571–1630), a German astronomer and natural philosopher, who formulated his now-famous laws about planetary motion. Kepler also created a system of infinitesimals that was the forerunner to calculus. Interestingly, although it cannot be confirmed wholly by scholars and historians, Donne is said to have visited Kepler in 1619 during a trip to the Austrian town of Linz.

Commentary on Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning is persuasive as Donne asks his wife not …

Donne constructs “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” in nine four-line stanzas, called qua-trains, using a four-beat, iambic tetrameter line. The rhyme scheme for each stanza is an alternating and each stanza is grammatically self-contained. This simple form is uncharacteristic for Donne, who often invented elaborate stanzaic forms and rhyme schemes. Its simplicity, however, permits the reader more readily to follow the speaker’s complicated argument.

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning."  Poetry for Students. .  (March 7, 2018).

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne …

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Trilling, Lionel, “John Donne: A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning,” in  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979, pp. 188–93.

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

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The term originally meant intelligence, but in the hands of the Metaphysical poets, came to signify a clever or ingenious use of reason to compare and contrast highly dissimilar things in order to develop a persuasive argument. In “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” for example, Donne is speaking to his wife, Anne, before leaving on a long journey, and he attempts to comfort her by drawing an unlikely comparison between their love for each other and the way that virtuous men behave at the moment of death.