John Donne (1572-1631) was one of the most famous poets of the Renaissance era. Often referred to as the father of metaphysical poetry, Donne wrote about topics that were largely considered taboo at the time, such as sex and religion. This made him unpopular with the English Crown and landed him in jail twice, where he had plenty of time to write poetry. Many consider his most famous poem, The Sun Rising, to be one of the greatest works of English literature ever written.
“Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God“
This is perhaps one of John Donne’s most famous poems. Throughout it, he refers to Saint Augustine’s doctrine that states that while humans have bodies, they are not physical. Instead, they must possess a body in order to have life. Without a body, people do not exist. This idea forms an important backbone to Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God because it emphasizes one main point.
In order for something to be physically real, it needs all three parts (body/mind/spirit) working together harmoniously. If any part of that equation fails, then what you have isn’t real or true. The poem goes on to say that each part of a person should also love itself as well as its counterparts. For example, if someone loves their mind but does not love their body or spirit, then they are incomplete and therefore false or fake.
The entire poem is meant to encourage readers to strive for balance within themselves so that they can truly live their lives happily and truthfully—which is what makes it such an important piece of literature from his time period. It reflects many aspects of society at large during his lifetime while also providing valuable insights into how people should approach their lives individually in order to achieve happiness.
“A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
There is not much to say about John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.” Published in 1631, it is a poem that mourns lost love, which was clearly very common in 17th century England. One example from The Oxford Anthology of English Literature gives us an idea how common it was: A contemporary survey shows that about one-sixth of all seventeenth-century brides were already pregnant on their wedding day. However, just because it was common does not mean that it did not hurt.
This poem serves as a good reminder that we should not take those we love for granted. We may think we will be together forever, but death can strike at any time. This fact brings up a lot of questions about what happens after death, but most people don’t like to talk about such things so they try to ignore them or pretend they do not exist. This leads many people into thinking they have more time than they actually do.
As such, I would argue that “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” has something important to say even today as it reminds us that life is short and should be enjoyed while we still have it.
“The Sun Rising”
This is a poem about someone’s eyes being open. In fact, it was inspired by his wife. He wrote it as he watched her open her eyes one morning. It seems that she didn’t wake up with much energy that day, but he said, but at my heart an organ played, / Deaf to all sounds but what itself made.
The speaker in the poem says that sometimes she is hot-headed and cannot be reasoned with. Other times, though, she does more than make his heart feel like it will explode from joy. She makes him happy. She makes him proud. And when she looks into his eyes, he feels sure that they are connected on some sort of spiritual level.
There is no doubt in his mind that they were meant for each other and there never could have been anyone else for him but her. All these things come together to form a beautiful picture of love and happiness between two people who are deeply devoted to each other. Also, their souls reflected back at them when they look into each other’s eyes.
“A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day”
“Though A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day” may be considered one of Donne’s most condensed poems. It packs quite a punch in its few lines. The story tells of a traveller who comes upon an inn with shuttered windows. His master, Donne is quick to point out is not home. Therefore, he decides to spend some time there before going on his way. He observes all that happens while he waits for him to return home at nightfall; only then will he rest.
There are three acts worth noting: First, a sailor arrives at dusk seeking lodging; second, a woman arrives after dark; and third, two people come looking for someone just as it starts to snow. What’s so special about these few lines? For starters, they’re written in iambic pentameter, which makes them easy to read aloud or recite. In addition, each stanza builds off what came before it and helps build suspense until you reach that last line, which leaves you wanting more.
Song (‘Go and catch a falling star… ‘)
This poem is written in a form called a sestina. The form consists of six stanzas, each with six lines and ending with a repeated line. The poem’s rhyme scheme follows that pattern until it is broken in order to create a one-line transition into another stanza. John Donne borrowed from an earlier Italian poet named Giovanni Boccaccio when writing his sestina Go and catch a falling star.
He builds off of Boccaccio’s idea but creates his own unique version by adding a twist at line nine: And if too hot or heavy it be, let it lie where it does fall. In addition to showing his creativity, he also was able to implement religious symbolism throughout the poem. There are many things to consider when reading poetry, such as tone, imagery, structure and theme.
This is one of Donne’s most famous poems, a full exploration of his views on love. The speaker claims that, as lovers are dead to each other when apart, he forbids her to mourn for him. He will not be missed because she feels him with her always. This idea that true love transcends physical presence is at the core of all his poetry.
As an Anglican priest, Donne married many couples and knew well how easy it was to forget about loved ones when they were absent. In fact, he writes in another poem that love is still a greater grief than hate.
When you truly love someone, you cannot imagine life without them; their absence creates an emptiness in your heart. Love doesn’t just transcend space; it also transcends time. That’s why we remember our loved ones fondly even after they’ve passed away—and why we can’t help but feel nostalgia for people who have been gone from our lives for years or decades.