John Donne's Poetry
John Donne was a colossus, straddling the channel. To be born English and Catholic meant he never had a unified identity. Sometimes it troubled him, but to be no one man became his greatest gift. Most people are never forced to look beyond their place and their lives. That place itself may be challenged, and success is never assured, but to strive to become someone out of being so strongly no-one is anot ...more
Mostly, Donne is a hoot, a dirty dawg. In Elegy 4, the narrator decides he will be more moral by refusing sex with a married woman in her husband’s bed and instead – here’s a great improvement – finding a different bed in a different house i ...more
by John Donne
SWEETEST love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
A fitter love for me ;
But since that I
At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
By feigned deaths to die.
Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here to-day ;
He hath no desire nor sense,
Nor half so short a way ;
Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
More wings and spurs than he.
O how feeble is man's power,
That if good fortune fall,
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for...
I thought "To His Mistress" was quite sensual. Could you imagine having all of that stuff to take off—girdle, breastplate, busk (corset), gown, coronet, shoes. He says “unpin” and “Unlace yourself.” I’m so glad I don’t have to go through all that to get undressed each night.
In "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" I really liked the analogy of the compass for a married couple. John Donne wrote this to his wife as he wa ...more
Here's a poem that I'll be reading to the first person that I fall in love with:
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 ...more
Having also studied the author’s life and his way of writing, made me appreciate it even more.
What really got to me, was the new and different way he wrote women. He didn’t idealise her the same way the Petrarchan poets did. Sure, everything she did was based on his actions and his perception of her and she was never given a voice...
There is often sufficient paradox and complexity in the poems of John Donne that he leaves his readers perplexed. That is no more true in his lyrics than of "The Ecstasy". One of his best known verses, this can be read as a representation of an artful young seducer; but my background and our class discussion suggests a more serious interpretation. My view is based in the classical philosophy of Plato and his poetic and philosophic, many-faceted, stories of the nature of ...more
Started on July 9, 2012
Finished on July 11, 2012
Didn't read all of his poetry, but my English class this summer went through a bunch of Donne's stuff and I have to say, he was my one of my favorite poets out of the ones we studied.
Holy Sonnet X was probably the one I enjoyed most:
"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, whi ...more
The Metaphysical poets are incredibly difficult to decipher without proper context, although the feats of language are impressive regardless of your level of familiarization with 17th ce ...more
Also, he commissioned a painting of what he would probably look like when he rises in the apocalypse, so keep your eyes peeled.
"STAY, O sweet and do not rise!
The light that shines comes from thine eyes;
The day breaks not: it is my heart,
Because that you and I must part.
Stay! or else my joys will die
And perish in their infancy."
"Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?"
Read 3rd edition at Baylor University in a 2013 summer school course with Dr. Robert Ray (finished around June 14, 2013). Read the Songs and Sonnets and the Divine Poems and a few other things (very little criticism).