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Jan 27, 2014

Canonization: Donne

Donne “the wittiest man of Jacobean age” is “the most intellectual poet of English literature”. He turns “an intellectual pokers in love knots”, says Coleridge. The canonization is one of the famous poem of Donne, Love for All by Dryden also have an identical theme. The poem explores dramatically the philosophical implication of loss of love. The logical and complex comparisons which are derived from this comparison have become a common place in English. The basic conceit of the poem is that true lovers are saint. The lovers are out of subject, if not in history, at least in poetry. Their love songs will be hymns of a new religion of which they will be saint.

Thus, they will rise to sainthood, i.e... Canonization and other people will worship them as “you to whom love was peace that now is rare”. The poem is spoken as a dialogue between speaker and his friend, who objects the youthful orregies of the lover. The friend is an anti-romantic; such is an essential quality of the science oriented society. The poem opens on a dramatic expression. To “You” the poem is identified, is not known; we led to believe that it is a man, perhaps a friend, who represents the whole world, for whom love is a sinful.

The poem opens with the word in which the poet addresses the world to mind his own business: “For God sake hold you tongue and let me love”. The poet starts heaping metaphor upon metaphor right at the beginning of first stanza. He says to his friend:
                   “Chide my palsy, or my gout, 
                     or my five grey hairs…….”.
The second stanza points out that the affairs of the world would not be affected by the lovers:         
                   “What merchants ships have my sights drowned  
                   and ayre of tears have overflowed your ground   
                   when did my cold a forward spring remove”.

The third stanza stresses that, his experience of love is to continue, and the vein of irony is to be maintained. He suggests such absurdities to his friend:       
                   “Call her one, me another flye
                   We are tapers to, we can at owne cost die”
such fantastical comparison, is compared to other things. The opening of fourth “If we can not live by it, we can die by it” shows the will of death of the lover. The lovers are ready to die for the world; they are callow but confident. Then, their legend, their love songs will raise them to canonization, and other people will invoke them:         
                   “The greatest ashes, and halfe acre tomb   
                   and our new hymns, make us canoniz’d.”

The theme reaches in a final touch in the final stanza. The lover loses the word but actually they gained the soul. This comparison is hinted in earlier phoenix metaphors, here, it receives a powerful dramatization. The lovers becoming hermits have not lost the world, but they have found it in themselves. Now they become the “pattern of love”. The poem ends with the words:
                   “all they will makes you epitome’dcity,       
                   court, countries, and bags from        
                   a pattern of your love”. 
The tone with which the poem closes is one of the greatest triumph achievements.

In conclusion, in this poem Donne not takes love as mystical but sober and serious. Its seriousness is in the fact that Donne is very fast in his purpose. Here Donne takes love not as non-seriously, neither mystical, not merely indulging, but a cynical and brady of two, rather
                   “a reading of the poem shows that Donne 
                   uses love and religion seriously”,     
remarks Cleanth Brooke. Because of this quality, Compton Rickett calls him “Elizabethan Browning”. One may add to it, in this poem, Donne do not despises the flesh but he accepts physical beauty as soul’s embodiment. So much so that he does not repent for this type of poetry even in the
Holy Sonnets.

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