The Good Morrow – John Donne
The Good Morrow – John Donne
The poem Good Morrow is an aubade a morning song sung by the lover after the night of lovemaking. Basically the poem is about love, it is seen as an intense absolute experience, which isolates the lovers from the reality. It contains three stanzas with seven lines in each and follows a rhyme scheme of ABABCC. All three stanzas represent three stages of love. The first stanza deals with the past experience of love. A dramatic opening can be seen in the first stanza with a rhetorical question. It shows the poet’s amazement and surprise at his new discovery of love. And at the same time it implies his scornfulness towards his naïve ignorance. He feels that both he and his beloved were like two little children who “suck’d on country pleasures.” So the process is metaphorically compared to a child who sucks milk from the mother and a mother who weans it when the due time comes. Likewise Donne sees it is the due time to stop sucking country pleasures and that’s why they should wean from it and consummate their love. It brings the fact that before consummation their love was immature and childish. Moreover the poet brings out a biblical metaphor to suggest that they were caught in an illusion and were blind to the reality. ‘seven sleepers den’ is a biblical image and it suggests that they were drugged and sleep out of reality. All pleasures that they enjoyed before consummation of love were mere fancies.
The second stanza brings the serene and peaceful experience that they gained after consummating their love. It is the celebration of present love and it makes their souls awaken to the reality. Moreover it makes them faithful to each other and they are savoring the joy of the previous night still. At the same time the poet reveals the new discoveries at that time with the symbols of maps and discoveries. Yet for them their union is self- sufficient and the outer world is rejected. For them Love the whole world is a small room.
The third stanza reveals the future of their love where both the poet and his beloved become immortal. It is the perfect union and the contentment of the lovers. It is the union of two souls and mutual understanding between the two lovers. Furthermore the poet justifies it by saying that each lover sees a half hemisphere in other’s eyes. And with the last argument he brings the fact that in the world each unequally mixed thing get decay, yet the union in between the poet and his beloved mixed equally and never decays. So there is no fear in their love. Not only their perfect love is immortal but also the lovers both he and his beloved become immortal. Finally it brings the immortality of love and the perfect love as a result of union of two souls.
In brief John Donne in his poem ‘Good Morrow’ celebrates love as a supreme experience in the world. He rejects the rigid and superficial Elizabethan conventions. He adds realism, sincerity and passion.
by John Donne
I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then ?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.