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In English literature the term is generally associated with the 17th century metaphysical poets, an extension of contemporary usage. In the metaphysical conceit, metaphors have a much more purely conceptual, and thus tenuous, relationship between the things being compared. Helen Gardner observed that "a conceit is a comparison whose ingenuity is more striking than its justness" and that "a comparison becomes a conceit when we are made to concede likeness while being strongly conscious of unlikeness." An example of the latter would be George Herbert's "Praise (3)," in which the generosity of God is compared to a bottle which ("As we have boxes for the poor") will take in an infinite amount of the speaker's tears. An often-cited example of the metaphysical conceit is the metaphor from John Donne's "The Flea", in which a flea that bites both the speaker and his lover becomes a conceit arguing that his lover has no reason to deny him sexually, although they are not married: Oh stay! three lives in one flea spare Where we almost, yea more than married are. This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage-bed and marriage-temple is. When Sir Philip Sidney begins a sonnet with the conventional idiomatic expression "My true-love hath my heart and I have his", but then takes the metaphor literally and teases out a number of literal possibilities and extravagantly playful conceptions in the exchange of hearts, the result is a fully formed conceit. Definition: a” conceit" is a poetic idea, usually a metaphor A "metaphysical conceit" is a particular type of poetic metaphor of the sort developed by the so-called "metaphysical poets" -- a group of 17th century British poets, including John Donne, who challenged many lyrical conventions (e.g., imagery, meter) Their "metaphysical conceits" were uncoventional/unexpected metaphors --unusual but striking analogies between things that seem very UN-like. They may be shocking or far-fetched and can be very elaborate; at their best they are ingenious, enabling us to look at things "a whole new way" (See sources for some examples) Sometimes the term is used as a sort of put-down, to describe an idea (not necessarily in poetry or other literature) which is more imagined than real (similar to "a legal fiction")
c. However. the first stanza strategically uses assonance to reinforce the word ‘we. dyes. mine. Another example of metaphor is . each of which includes seven lines. c. These loaded terms also help identify ‘countrey pleasures’ as a metaphor for breasts. Examples of these unclear elements are found in the first stanza’s ‘seaven sleepers den’ phrase. sexual imagery is present in the first stanza. but the long i sound predominates. the quatrain is used to reveal the speaker’s state of mind.’ Donne fully employs the numerous devices of poetry to relay his speaker’s endearing message to his lover. while the triplet allows the speaker to reflect on that mindset (Stampfer 142). and to what the musicality of the poem suggests. and tone to creatively support his speaker in the endeavor. However. bee. the speaker focuses on himself by reinforcing the word ‘I. thee. True.’ (142). but also in the verse. In his poem. this is not merely coincidence. We will come to discover that Donne’s ‘The Good Morrow’ is poem that efficiently uses devices to maximize the poetic potential of the verse. declining. As you can see. any. finde. Due to this. The poem is divided into three stanzas. this view will change as we further discuss the poem. not with a couplet.’ This is done by a repetition of the long e sound. but an ingenious strategy to further emphasize the union of the two lovers. these references may seem to be carelessly included and non-supportive of the central theme. along with the point-of-view and tone of the speaker. Donne uses assonance for the opposite effect in the last stanza. b. In addition. Instead of focusing on the couple. John Donne and the Metaphysical Gesture. For example. c. see. In the book. the second stanza’s exploration imagery. words such as ‘wean’d’ and ‘suck’d’ elicit breast images. beauty. Donne’s use of figurative language. But we will come to see that these references do much to further support the speaker’s message. For example. there are instances of the long e sound in the third stanza. there is an obvious opposition to what the speaker says. On the surface. countrey. a. figurative language. He uses elements of structure. dreame. In addition. instead of being primarily focused on the union. childlishly. each of these stanzas is further divided into a quatrain and a triplet. die. thine.’ This is done by a repetition of the long i sound.The Good Morrow: A Metaphysical Explication Few come close to such a thorough expression of love as John Donne. desir’d. alike. b. all of these words are from the first stanza: we. ‘The Good Morrow’ is interestingly structured to aid the speaker in his message. This division is not solely reflected in the rhyme scheme. fancies. For example. and contains erudite allusions and references that further support the speaker’s message to his beloved. From a musical perspective. Judah Stampfer notes that each ‘iambic pentameter quatrain is rounded out. but a triplet with an Alexandrine close a. First of all. wean’d. the speaker appears to be more concerned with himself. point-of-view. and the final stanza’s hemispherical imagery. sleepers. enhance his poem. ‘The Good Morrow. However. all of these words can be found in the third stanza: I. not all aspects of the poem are clear due to the astute allusions and references by the learned Donne. For example.
’ both of which are explained in greater detail later in the paper. one with the ‘seaven sleepers den. This can be found once in the poem itself. They are mistaking ‘shadows of shadows for reality’ (Nassaar 20). In addition.’ the other with the ‘hemispheares. There is. another possibility. thine in mine appeares. Although there are two individuals involved in the poem. the true reality of the world. there are no other references that take the analogy further. and can only see the shadows on the wall caused by themselves and other objects that block the firelight (Plato ‘Book’). In Book VII of The Republic. ‘all past pleasures have been merely ‘fancies. In the second stanza. through Socrates. describes a world in which mankind has been imprisoned in a cave since birth. Donne’s speaker is then comparing his life before love with the confinement of Plato’s prisoners. 1. where he eventually comes to discover God. These ‘prisoners’ are chained at the legs and neck. there is a superb example of symbolism in the poem. only the male speaker is heard. The analogy continues with a prisoner being released and ascending from the cave into the outside world. But except for line 4. The most direct event this phrase might be alluding to is a ‘Christian and Mohammedan legend of the seven youths of Ephesus who hid in a cave for 187 years so as to avoid pagan persecution during the dawn of Christianity’ (Bloom).’ ‘snorted. and the illusionary nature of the cave (Plato ‘Book’). but slept for the entire period (‘Good’). Clues to the informal atmosphere of the poem can be found by glancing at the coarse language used by the speaker. Plato’s Cave Allegory. An example of metonomy can be found in the last stanza when the speaker states: ‘My face in thine eye. but also symbolizes the birth of the awakened individual.’ and ‘got. Amazingly. Plato. An example is the hemispherical imagery representing the lovers in the final stanza. this phrase is paradoxical as hearts cannot rest in faces. So the speaker could be comparing the period prior to the realization of their love to the ‘seaven sleepers’ in that they both ‘snorted’.’ Despite the coarseness. which actually represents the woman.’ This not only represents the physical sunrise. There is also use of paradox in the poem. or slept (OED). an every where. such as: ‘suck’d. Furthermore.’ Obviously. and got’ were only a ‘dream’ of this one woman’ (‘Good’). Metaphysical conceits are also present in the poem. there is an example of hyperbole when the speaker says ‘makes one little roome. And finally. the speaker is clearly infatuated with the women being addressed.’ The speaker does not mean that his face literally appears in his lover’s eye. Fig. however. these youths did not die. in what appeared to be a seemingly infinite amount of time. Then when he finally ascends from the . the point-of-view of the speaker is from the first-person perspective.’ and the women he ‘desir’d. Basically. when the speaker says: ‘true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest.’ Christopher Nassaar proposes that this reference may be more accurately alluding to Plato’s Cave Allegory (20-21. but that she is aware of him. For example.the word ‘beauty’ in line 6. the tone is casually intimate. In his article. There are also two allusions in the poem. 1). (‘Allegory’) The phrase ‘seaven sleepers den’ introduced in the first stanza could be interpreted in more than one way.’ This is an obvious exaggeration and a physical impossibility. Fig. and in the title”good morrow. So everything the prisoners believe to be real is in fact an illusion. ‘Plato in John Donne’s ‘The Good Morrow’. when compared against their present love.
since the speaker is talking about the couple. Aristophanes relates an amusing legend of humanity’s origin. In his speech. The speaker views this popular pastime as a tool to placate slaves. However. and is one. Donne ‘collapses his geographical metaphor into the tiny reflection of each lover’s face in the other’s eye’ (Holland 63). However. First of all. Let Maps to other. One of the primary public interests was the ongoing exploration of the world. each hath one. Each ‘individual’ had four legs. which left Elizabethans with a distorted perception of the New World. Any knowledge they did have was second-hand and intangible. declaration of his love in the second stanza. such as himself. worlds on worlds have showne. the average Londoner of Elizabeth’s day could hardly help knowing something of ships and sea travel’ (Rugoff 129). Therefore. he discovers the superior reality of his beloved. not two.cave. this view proves more difficult to support upon viewing the following lines. the hemispherical imagery also alludes to an odd speech by Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium (Holland 64). the speaker states that this world of love is contained within their eyes. it was in the ‘Elizabethan-Jacobean era’ that exploration ‘saw its really great florescence’ (Rugoff 137). world-filling. and the desire to pursue these dreams is directly related to the illusions of the cave. Aristophanes stated that at the beginning of time. and a single head with a face on either side. we must remember that the earthly pursuits of Elizabethan England were much different than from the present. it would have been more accurate to mention four. the speaker states: Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone. So while maintaining the expansive. and desires not to return to the lustridden cave of his past. On the other hand. This natural instinct to reunite the halves . This apparent digression actually further supports the Platonic association of the first stanza.’ Now it is possible that these two ‘hemispheares’ could represent the eyes. each has gained world enough’ (Bloom). many people from this era knew of the Americas. Zeus divided each human being into two separate beings. But although they were distinct individuals. And ‘with the Thames the most popular of local thoroughfares and with sailors scattered throughout the city. The purpose of the exploration imagery in the second stanza is to further reveal the speaker’s preference of his new relationship over worldly desires. Let us possesse one world. and not an activity for an enlightened individual. human beings took the form of a sphere. these ‘new worlds’ represent a sort of dream. Basically. In the triplet of the second stanza. This is because Donne’s speaker metaphorically describes the pair as two separate ‘hemispheares. the cardinal point imagery is not clear when using this interpretation. There is no need for him to search for ‘new worlds’ since he has already found it in the union of him and his beloved. and related to a farcical Platonic view on the origin of humanity. four arms. but few had ever been there. Also. Although this had been going on for some time. ‘In possessing one another. The story goes that as a penalty for angering the gods. they were still spiritual halves endlessly seeking to reunite as a whole. However. The hemispherical imagery in the third stanza could be interpreted as both spatially acute.
what exactly does it mean’ ‘The Good Morrow’ is a chronological and spatial poem through which the speaker reveals his growing maturity and awareness of his love as a response to his awakening. and together they form the original whole. After that. without declining West” The speaker is saying that in their new united spherical world. In addition. But his woman finally releases him and he emerges into the sunlight. their relationship will be one of warmth and everlasting love.’ or a cave. The poem is chronological in that it progresses from a symbolic infant stage in the first stanza. we gained a better understanding of Donne’s use of exploration imagery in the second stanza. and finally longing to be eternally fused with his beloved. Next. or ‘sharpe. The focus actually begins on the couple with sounds that reinforce ‘we. ‘the good morrow.is Aristophanes’ explanation of love (Plato Symposium 18-23). Furthermore. and finally in the last stanza.’ Instead. the poem is centered on a theme of awakening. and tone to create a more believable speaker. to love. Also. the speaker becomes increasingly aware of his love for the woman.’ This represents the union of the two halves into the one ‘I. we examined the poem from a holistic perspective and recognized how all of these various elements contributed to the overall message. ‘North’ and ‘West’ are absent. we analyzed the unique structure and musical elements within the poem. he was engrossed in other women. The poem is spatial in that love is initially represented as being confined to ‘one little roome. So we have come to discover that Donne’s ‘The Good Morrow’ is poem that efficiently uses devices to maximize the poetic potential of the verse.’ a new man growing increasingly aware of his love. Furthermore.’ nor will it wane.’ then contracting all this love into a powerful force that is contained in the eyes of the pair. the speaker states: ‘Where can we finde two better hemispheares/ Without sharpe North.’ but ends with sound that reinforces ‘I. First. point-of-view. and contains erudite allusions and references that further support the speaker’s message to his beloved. So now that we have discussed the various elements included in the poem. and saw how it has roots in both Christian mythology and Platonic allegory. we have seen how Donne used poetic devices and learned references to support the speaker. So Donne’s speaker believes he has found his other half in his beloved. we took a closer look at ‘seaven sleepers den’ phrase. as in Plato’s analogy. The poem begins with the speaker having been figuratively asleep in a cave. Then we examined how Donne used figurative language. The poem can also be viewed as a maturing of the speaker in that he progressed from a life of physical lust. For example. to the morning of the present in the second. Then we investigated the farcical Platonic basis for the hemispherical imagery in the third stanza. or be ‘declining. the cardinal point imagery is cleared up with this interpretation. In the beginning. but he came to realize that these women were just reflections of what he was truly chasing. to expanding to fill an entire ‘world.’ Overall. and reinforces this union in the musicality of the poem. the one real woman. The relationship will not be frigid. And finally. to an immortal outlook of their relationship in the future. . the speaker reinforces this union through the musicality of the verse.
but in a Metaphysical manner. the lover addresses the beloved in the first person mode with a question which is followed by more questions that seem to contain answers to the opening one. It restores physicality. The opening question looks back into their past history of love. Donne through this poem states that even the most impossible things in this world could be found. Song 'Song' is one of the the famous poems of John Donne. Donne thinks love is a dialogue between the body and the soul and neither on its own can constitute love. being sucked on to a misrecognition in the Seven Sleepers' Den. till we loved? were we not weaned till then. by my troth. By the phrase 'country pleasures'. childishly? In this poem. a Pure Substance which can never die. 'But sucked on country pleasures childishly?' extends the interrogation. The metaphorical morning of consciousness is one of love and it brings home this very idea of the balance. sensuality and sexuality to love. The goodMorrow: I wonder. whereby love in its sheer intensity is supposed to create an impeccable balance. the speaker initiates a journey. In the three verses of the poem. Whets the meaning of country pleasure? The phrase 'country pleasures' occurs in the first verse of Donne's poem. From the sole reign of the sexual in the childish pleasures.How does Donne developed his poem? The Good Morrow" is a love poem. But sucked on country pleasures. accommodating and pluralistic idea of love. but only through truth. the new dawn of love brings this new stage in love where intensity reigns supreme. This is a very liberal. 'were we not weaned till then?' is the question that looks back into that state. They were actually separated while they were under the illusory impression of union. mutuality and absolutely pure harmony can love win over mortality thus. a journey from the body to the mind and thence to the spirit. a sheer bodily engagement which they mistook for love. it can take care of the 'love of other sights'. the lover means the gross rustic pleasures of the senses when the souls were in a state of slumber. There is a mutual self-respect and none of the selves dissolves in the relation. but only the faces in each other's eyes. a journey from the past to the present to the future of love. Once the anchor-point of love is well grounded. Despite being adult persons. what thou and I Did. There is no power play. Neither through the offspring nor through poetry. The phrase 'country pleasures' is part of the questionnaire. but not a woman who . the two lovers behaved 'childishly' and wanted to enjoy bodily pleasures. It is critical of the idealist strain implicit in the Elizabethan love poetry.
she\'ll have lost her virtue. He writes this at a time in history when people believed that all woman who are beautiful on the outside are also the same in heart. The utter frustration with this scenario is that mermaids were actually genderless. and once a scorpion has you in it's vice.is beautiful and virtuous. in the time. she would stay that way for so little time that when she were brought to him. whilst the mermaid slipped enigmatically away. meaning it is impossible to make pregnant. it is impossible to escape. Poetic analysis: The first stanza refers to utter imposibilities. just as envy does. which meant that their beauty was for nothing but to kill. you were doomed to certain death (the only one to have escaped this fate was oddysseus). however when it does is always male. a falling star was a thing of great destruction (it is of course referring to a comet). They thought that the outer beauty is the reflection of the inner self. before he even writes a letter to her. as referred to in the fifth line are mythological greek creatures who with their singing lured sailors to their deaths. up to the end suggest that even if one were to find a woman fair and true. it is not possible to catch a falling star. it was said that as soon as the singing of a siren was heard. . by sitting on rocks and enchanting the brain of a sailor to crash. The next 11 lines are referring to the fact that the previous were all impossibilities. He does not say that an ugly woman would be virtuous. however they are more likely to happen than to find a woman fair and true the following lines. she would no longer be. A mandrake root is a plant which can take human form. Donne strongly disagrees with the same. Envies stinging was supposed to be imposible to avoid. He says that even if such a woman would be found. envy is often anthropomorphasised as a scorpion. He is only concerned with beautiful woman of his time. Mermaids.
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